Walk of the Whales

Walk of the Whales by esteemed book creator Nick Bland will inspire children to think about pollution in the ocean in a new and unexpected way and from the perspective of the whales.  This highly entertaining and creative book tells the story about the whale population who took it upon themselves to suddenly leave their homes and walk out of the ocean to occupy the cities and towns. This brought much joy to the children, however this move had a polarising effect on adults as some people gained from this in the short term (like the fish seller who couldn’t keep up supply), while others were not at all impressed by the gigantic creatures wreaking havoc on their services and experiences.

As time passes the negative impact of the whales in the cities grows and frustrations mount as people’s quality of life deteriorates. The economy then suffers as businesses are forced to close and people have to find employment in new industries. Frustration turns to anger and people take to the streets to protest. The whales are vilified. Until one astute and courageous girl uses her voice to question the whales about their decision to live on the land. The whales’ response is powerful and in a non-didactic way contains an important environmental message.

Nick Bland’s humour shines in the gentle rhyming text as well as the gloriously detailed and expressive illustrations, which illuminate mostly double page spreads. The illustrations offer so much to explore and give further insight into the various impacts of the whales occupying the land.

This book lends itself to:

  • Exploring an animal or plants perspective in relation to their feelings and thoughts about the ways humans impact their environment. Develop a creative response from this animal or plants point of view. Does your chosen animal leave their home like the whales? If so, where do they go and what is the result of this? Does your chosen animal or plant work together with the humans to educate them? What does this look, feel and sound like?
  • Exploring visual literacy: There is so much to “read” and interpret in the illustrations. Consider the changing expressions of the whales throughout the story. Identify the different expressions and how do you account for these? What triggers the changes in their emotions? Consider the effects the whales have on the land (economic, environmental, social/recreational).
  • Exploring the harmful and devastating impacts of pollution – consider short and long term consequences.
  • Discussing examples of communities working together, adopting sustainable practices and collective environmental responsibility to ensure a clean, safe and welcoming environment for all, people and animals, so they can coexist harmoniously together.
  • How anger can swell and lead to protests. Are you aware of any protests that have led to a positive change?  What are the positive, negative and interesting points about a protest?
  • Considering how one proactive person can make a difference and be a significant force for enormous change. What examples of this exist in your local area, state, country and on a global level?

Other picture books to explore with this story include:

  • The Tale of the Whale by Karen Swann and illustrated by Padmacandra. For more information about this book see the Reading Opens Doors blog for a review of The Tale of the Whale and
  • Mama Ocean by Jane Jolly and Sally Heinrich. The review for Mama Ocean can also be found on the Reading Opens Doors blog.

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