Maybe a Whale

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Product Details
$21.99  $20.45
Groundwood Books
Publish Date
8.8 X 11.5 X 0.4 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

KIRSTEN PENDREIGH is a children's author and poet from Vancouver, BC. Her books celebrate our early instincts to care for the plants and creatures that share our planet. She is the author of Luna's Green Pet, illustrated by Carmen Mok. Kirsten's poems can be found in Canadian literary magazines and in Best Canadian Poetry 2021. Formerly a CBC and NPR journalist, Kirsten also writes non-fiction for children.

CRYSTAL SMITH is the daughter of a lighthouse keeper who discovered her passion for wildlife when she was small. She illustrates the natural world to spark curiosity and wonder, kindle concern, and illuminate issues. Crystal currently lives in Victoria, BC. She has worked with the David Suzuki Foundation and Parks Canada, along with other clients.


Pendreigh's evocative text alternates between narration and the protagonist's inner thoughts, offering excellent conversation starters for helping children deal with loss.

-- "Kirkus"

Smith's impressionistic art style breathes life into Pendreigh's lyrical text in this moving picture book about the strong connection between grandfather and granddaughter.

-- "Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"

Illustrations with watery backgrounds blur the line between sea and sky, showing mother and daughter in fog and rain, at twilight and dawn--in liminal moments that echo their grief ... A tender testament to love and loss. STARRED REVIEW

-- "Horn Book"

Smith's depictions ... are jaw-dropping. A moving meditation on grief.

-- "School Library Journal"

A quiet, comforting story.

-- "Wall Street Journal"

A poignant story of a grieving mother and daughter who find solace in nature and in each other's company. A range of emotions -- sorrow, wonder, peace -- are lyrically intertwined and expressed.

-- "Canadian Children's Book News"

A beautiful story about a mother and daughter's journey to heal from their grief and to reconnect with each other and the ocean.

-- "CM: Canadian Review of Materials"

Reminds us that memories can keep loved ones close, even when they're gone.

-- "Hakai Magazine"

This story [will] remind readers of the unpredictability of life.

-- "New York Times"

Kirsten Pendreigh takes a less boisterous, more poetic approach [and] illustrator Crystal Smith ... does a masterful job.

-- "Montreal Gazette"

Told with an understated sensitivity, Maybe a Whale offers readers a lesson on grieving and the value of fulfilling promises even to the dead. Told with great care and supported by lovely illustrations that take the reader into the world of northern waters and whales, this is a life lesson to readers.

-- "Children's Literature Comprehensive Database"