Book Report

The Whale's Song, written by Dyan Sheldon, and illustrated by Gary Blythe. Published in 1996, bilingual, in Vietnamese and English, unpaged and costs $16.95.

I have just discovered this picture book, published in 1996, and feel I must share the magic of it with you, as this year's whale visitors to Baja are getting ready to return to our shores. It is a beautifully written book, with haunting pictures that look like oil paintings. The words that the little girl (Lilly), and her grandmother use in describing the whales (this is a bilingual book written in both Vietnamese and English), echo my own feelings of awe at the magic of the giant whales inhabiting our oceans, " large as mountains and bluer than the sky."

Her grumpy uncle frowns at that, and tells little Lilly that whales are only "...important for their meat, and for their bones, and for their blubber."

Her grandmother however, says that whales are magical creatures, who will sing their songs to you if you have given them something special, a gift, like a perfect shell or beautiful rock, and she also tells her that "... they, ( whales), have been here millions of years before there were ships, or cities, or even cavemen."

But, of course Lilly 's uncle replies to that, contending that "....people used to eat them and boil them down for oil."

Of course, that night's dreams are full of cavorting and dancing whales who sing to her, and so she slips out while it’s still dark, with a single beautiful yellow blossom as a gift, hoping they will accept her gift and actually sing to her.

The colors used in the book's pictures are of earth, sky, and sea hues, and they also have a haunting magical feel. This is a perfect book to read to children and grandchildren. And to practice your Vietnamese in case you’ve given up on every learning Spanish.

The Whale's Song, by Dyan Sheldon and Gary Blythe is available at El Caballo Blanco, my book store in Loreto, (one copy only, so shake a fin).  You can email me at You can probably pick up a copy at Please note the change in my e-mail address. This is a book I want to keep in my own library, to read (often) to my own grandchildren. OK, make that no copies in my book store.