Monday, January 7, 2019

Review - Ida and the Whale

Ida and the Whale
by Rebecca Gugger & Simon Röthlisberger
Date: 2019
Publisher: NorthSouth Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

What lies behind the sun, the moon, and the stars?

Ida can’t stop thinking about these and other very important questions. Then one night, a flying whale wakes her and takes her on an amazing journey—where some of her questions are answered and even more created.

This gentle, philosophical tale is a visual treat sure to fill curious little listeners with wonder.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I've been looking forward to cracking this one open and taking a peek. Sadly, it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

The illustrations are beautiful. There's so much to look at! Ida, with her bright red hair and yellow boots, is cute, and the whale certainly is a presence. The pictures are really atmospheric, and help transport the reader along with Ida on her adventure.

Unfortunately, the story and writing are what let this one down. The plot is thin, and it all seems a bit too philosophical for a children's book. What is the point of this journey? Sure, Ida gets to find out what's beyond the sun, moon, and stars, but it's really just her imagination. I don't know if she really required a flying whale's visit to come to that conclusion.

The writing also seems a bit rough to me. Lots of it is clumped together; dialogue between Ida and her friend will be combined into one paragraph, making it kind awkward. I'm not sure how much of this is due to the fact that the book has been translated into English, but I still think it could've used some tweaking, just to neaten things up and make it flow a little better.

This book's strength is its pictures. The story needs to be stronger to be a good vehicle for the beautiful illustrations. I'd love to be able to rate this one higher, but I just can't. Check it out for the aesthetic, but don't expect much in the way of a good story.

Thank you to NetGalley and NorthSouth Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.67 out of 5

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