Molly and the Whale by Malachy Doyle is about Molly and Dylan who go down to the beach the morning after the storm and find an enormous whale. The villagers spend all day trying to help the whale stay cool and protect it all day long, hoping that when the high tide comes again, the whale will be able to swim back into the sea. To try and keep the whale calm, Molly sings ”As long as it takes, we’ll’ll be here by your side. As long as it takes, till you swim on the tide.’ But as the night falls, will the water ever be deep enough for the whale to swim back to the sea?
This is a beautifully written story about the hopes of a young girl and a whole community working together to try and save the whale, showing teamwork, empathy and care for the natural world. The illustrations on each page are stunning and with the text provide an opportunity to explore the community and the characters and reflect the changing moods in the book. I loved spotting what each of the villagers was doing in the crowd scenes and spotting the cheeky seagulls throughout the book.
Molly and the Whale is one to have on the bookshelf, to share with children of all ages and would fit into work on values, empathy, community, natural world and conservation. It is a great read-aloud for younger children but could be used with older children to explore some of the issues in more detail. This is the sequel to Molly and the Stormy Sea, and apparently, there are two more Molly books planned.
I look forward to reading them and finding out more about her and the fishing village she lives in!
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