Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 3 to 5
- Grade: p to k
- Reading age: 3 to 5
In this timeless classic set on the West Coast, an old man lives alone on a bluff overlooking the sea, 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 of knowledge and wisdom as well as his passion for the whales. And each year they wait together for the whales to appear.
Waiting for the Whales illuminates the unique friendship between grandparent and child and celebrates the restorative power of the natural world. Originally published twenty-five years ago, this award-winning picture book is sure to enchant a whole new generation of readers.
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, Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award
- Winner, IODE Book Award - Toronto Chapter
- Winner, Governor General's Literary Award - Illustration
- Winner, CLA Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award
- Commended, CCBC Our Choice
"This beautifully written, sensitive story reflects on an important relationship between young and old...This text is skillfully enhanced by the accomplished artwork of Ron Lightburn...Twenty-five years later this enchanting book has been republished, proving that it is a classic appealing across the generations. It should be welcomed once again on the shelves in school libraries and classroom collections."
"The gentle, distancing tone is reflected in softly detailed color-pencil art, with careful compositions and dramatic shadows...Poetic and comforting."
"Written in precisely cadenced prose, McFarlane's story about the cycles of life—while not a new theme—is so deftly handled that it becomes genuinely moving."
"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."
"A delicate and beautifully executed book."