The Storm Whale by Benji Davies tells the story of Noi, a lonely little boy who lives with his fisherman father on a small island. One day, when his father has gone out fishing after a storm, Noi sees a baby whale washed up on the beach. Noi takes the whale home and puts it in his bathtub, telling it stories about life on the island. When Noi’s father comes home, he realizes just how lonely Noi is when he is not there. Together, they row the whale back to the sea where it reunites with its family.
Balancing Work & Family Life
The modern day parent often struggles with balancing work and family life and children can feel the negative side effects of this dilemma. Just like the whale had been separated from its parent, so Noi was separated from his. But instead of being separated by a storm, Noi and his father are separated by the father’s livelihood. In his desire to provide for Noi, the father unintentionally neglects him and never realizes how lonely Noi is. As a result, Noi yearns for a friend.
Upon realizing his error, the father immediately remedies his mistake. He takes the initiative to spend time with Noi and balance his work and family life. In his free time, when he could be relaxing or doing something else, Noi’s father spends time with Noi instead.
Balancing home and work life helps build and maintain relationships between parent and child. Once Noi’s father began to spend more time with him, both were happy and less lonely. They reaffirmed their relationship with each other and grew closer.
Inclusion Builds Trust & Relationships
Upon discovering the baby whale in his bathtub, the father doesn’t get angry with Noi (despite Noi’s fears that he will) or take the baby whale back himself. Instead, he is understanding and includes his son in the task of taking the baby whale back, which makes their relationship grow stronger.
Kids will do things that an adult would never think of, like put a whale in a bathtub, but it doesn’t mean they’re bad. Their imaginations and view of the world may be strange to an adult, but all an adult has to do is remember what it was like for them to be a child. By including kids in daily activities, it shows them that you enjoy their company and trust them to help you.
Illustrations Capture Emotion
The illustrations in The Storm Whale capture Noi’s loneliness on the island. Full page illustrations surround Noi and make the boy appear small and isolated on an already isolated island. The occasional page with Noi surrounded by white space also highlights his loneliness. Despite Noi’s loneliness, the colors of his island and home are bright and homey, showing that not even the beauty of his home can keep him company. The illustrations remain the same throughout the book, but they are not as lonely in the end when Noi and his father are together. The scenes are finally complete.
The Storm Whale is a good story for preschoolers who have developed language skills, but still rely on illustrations to gather information. The minimal text that accompanies the illustrations doesn’t overburden the page and make it appear too busy. This minimalistic approach makes it easier for younger audiences to follow along.