Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 3 to 5
- Grade: p to k
- Reading age: 3 to 5
In this timeless story set on the West Coast, an old man lives alone on a bluff overlooking the sea and tends his garden. And waits. Only when the whales return each year to the bay in front of his cottage is his loneliness eased. One day, his daughter and her baby return home to live with the old man, bringing a renewed sense of purpose to his life. As his granddaughter grows, the old man passes on a wealth or knowledge and wisdom as well as his passion for the whales. And each year they wait together for the whales to appear. A gentle story that illuminates the unique friendship between grandparent and child, Waiting for the Whales also suggests that aging and death are only part of a greater cycle of rebirth and continuity.
About the authors
Sheryl McFarlane was born in the Ottawa Valley and was raised in Arizona, but the west coast snatched her heart more than thirty years ago. She is the mother of three wonderful daughters who often appear in her books in disguised form. She is the author of four board books and eight picture books, including: A Pod of Orcas, This is the Dog, Jessie's Island and Waiting for the Whales.
Sheryl's books have won and been short-listed for several readers' choice awards, the Governor General's Award, the IODE Award, the BC Book Prize for Children's Literature, and the Mr. Christie Award. Sheryl has toured with the Peter Gzowski Golf Tournament for Literacy, Save the Children, and The Canada Council. She has judged creative writing for The Writer's Union of Canada, The Canadian Children's Book Centre, and the BC Creative Writers' Grant Program, been a writer in residence in many schools, been involved in many young author programs, and has led children's writing workshops for beginning and established writers.
A former teacher, Sheryl provides professional development in language arts for school districts, Early Childhood Educators, Primary Educator Associations and the International Reading Association. She frequently acts as a consultant for publishers on both educational and trade projects. Her first young adult novel was published in the fall of 2006.
Ron Lightburn's career as a children's book illustrator was launched with his Governor General's Award-winning artwork for Waiting for the Whales in 1991. Since then he has illustrated numerous other bestselling picture books and has become internationally renowned for his sensitive storytelling skills and range of illustration styles. For more information, visit www.thelightburns.com and follow him on Twitter @ronlightburn.
- Commended, Today's Parent's Best Canadian Kids Books list selection
- Winner, IODE Book Award - Toronto Chapter
- Winner, Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award
- Commended, CCBC Our Choice
- Winner, CLA Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award
- Winner, Governor General's Literary Award - Illustration
"The gentle, distancing tone is reflected in softly detailed color-pencil art, with careful compositions and dramatic shadows...Poetic and comforting."
"This gentle and poignant tale features striking photorealist coloured-pencil artwork."
Canadian Children's Book Centre Classic Canadian Reading
"Waiting for the Whales, a multi-award winning (for both author and illustrator) picture book, was described as 'timeless' when originally published in 1991. Twenty-five years later, it lives up to that praise, remaining very much a story for today. The premise, setting, themes and illustrative style still inspire in this classic story written from the heart…Be sure to add this gentle but captivating story to your picture book collection. Waiting for the Whales will remain a favorite to reread for generations to come."