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Thomaston, ME 04861

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Fall 2019

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The Eye of the Whale

CLASSROOM GUIDE

 

In THE EYE OF THE WHALE by author/illustrator Jennifer O’Connell, a distress call was radioed to shore by a local fisherman off the coast of San Francisco. He had discovered a humpback whale tangled in hundreds of yards of crab-trap lines, struggling to stay at the water’s surface to breathe. A team of volunteers answered the call, and four divers risked their lives to rescue the enormous animal. What followed was a rare and remarkable demonstration of animal intelligence that has been celebrated around the world.

As people found out about the event, questions arose. Did the whale help the divers by staying still and calm as they cut the lines or was she just exhausted? Was the whale full of joy after being freed or did she swim in circles to stretch out her huge body after being tied up for so long? How do we explain the whale nudging all the divers, and then looking directly at them? This celebrated story, beautifully depicted in Jennifer O’Connell’s mesmerizing paintings, will make you wonder about animal emotions and the unique connections we can have with other animals, even whales.

To research The Eye of the Whale, Jennifer traveled to San Francisco where she met Captain Mick Menigoz and rode his rescue boat, Superfish, out into the Pacific Ocean to the area where the events in the book took place. This experience fueled her inspiration as she created the images and words of this extraordinary story.

 

Available wherever books are sold.

 

Video trailer: https://youtu.be/fEovaA0WQl4

 

Honors and Awards:

Green Earth Book Award 2014

Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, Gold, 2013

Selected for Reading Is Fundamental’s 2014 STEAM Collection

Maryland Blue Crab Award, Honor Book

Society of School Librarians International (SSLI) Honor Book

Macy’s Multicultural Collection of Children’s Literature (through RIF)

Maine Literary Awards, Finalist

 

WHY READ THIS BOOK?

 

This true story of compassion and interspecies communication will inspire readers, young and old to be stewards of the natural world.

 

Topics:

Animal stewardship, animal emotions, marine mammal entanglement rescues, compassion.

 

Problem:

Human activities (such as fishing) can have unintended consequences for animals.