Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 14
- Grade: 9
Feisty icon; passionate Canadian; unrelenting foe of all pretension; energetic provocateur-at-large and most importantly, superb and dedicated writer, there cannot be a Canadian alive who is unaware of the legacy that is Farley Mowat. And No Bird Sang and A Whale for the Killing are the first books in a new Douglas & McIntyre library of handsomely redesigned paperback editions of Farley Mowat's work.
When an 80-ton Fin Whale became trapped in a lagoon near his Newfoundland home, Farley Mowat rejoiced: here was a unique chance to observe one of the world's most magnificent creatures up close. But some of his neighbours saw a different opportunity altogether: in a prolonged fit of violence, they blasted the whale with rifle fire, and scarred its back with motorboat propellers. Mowat appealed desperately to the police, to marine biologists, finally to the Canadian press. But it was too late. Mowat's poignant and compelling story is an eloquent argument for the end of the whale hunt, and the rediscovery of the empathy that makes us human.
About the author
Farley Mowat was born in Belleville, Ontario, in 1921. He began writing upon his return from serving in World War II, and has since written 44 books. He spent much of his youth in Saskatoon, and has lived in Ontario, Cape Breton and Newfoundland, while travelling frequently to Canada's far north. Throughout, Mowat has remained a determined environmentalist, despairing at the ceaseless work of human cruelty. Yet his ability to capture the tragic comedy of human life on earth has made him a national treasure in Canada, and a beloved storyteller to readers around the world. His internationally celebrated books include People of the Deer, The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, Sea of Slaughter, and The Boat Who Wouldn't Float.
"I admit, sheepishly, that I have never read any of Farley Mowat's novels. Until last week, that is, when I gobbled up two of his books, republished by Douglas & McIntyre: A Whale for the Killing and And No Birds Sang...I now understand the regard for Mowat's superb story-telling and dramatic prose...Luckily D&M has rescued Mowat's library...and we can newly appreciate him. Or introduce him to our children."
"Farley Mowat is a North American icon on a par with Matthiessen and Muir. He has brought the wilderness and its inhabitants into the lives of millions, awakening readers to issues and relationships that many never knew existed. For so many of us who hold the wild world dear, it was Mowat who gave us our first and lasting taste of its power, mystery and increasing vulnerability. A Whale for the Killing is a classic -- Mowat at his best."
John Vaillant, author of The Tiger
"Mowat's books have...defined the Canadian wilderness for readers all over the world -- the landscape, the isolation, the weather, animal and native life -- with a heightened sense of reality no other writer has achieved over the last six decades."
A Whale for the KillingOriginally published in 1972, this recent edition of A Whale for the Killing includes a chapter updated by Farley Mowat in 2005 where he calls a worldwide moratorium on the killing of all whales. A determined environmentalist dating back to the 1950s, Mowat shares his extensive knowledge of whales, their biology and evolutionary history, as well as his heartfelt sentiments on man’s assault on the whale nation. Mowat captivates readers with the story of living in Burgeo, an isolated community on the southwest coast of Newfoundland, when a rare 80-ton fin whale became trapped in a saltwater lagoon. Local hunters then poured ammunition into the animal. The author relates the tragic story of his attempt to save the whale. Mowat shares his anger, despair and his hopes for an end to commercial whaling.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2012-2013.