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The Heart of a Whale

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  335 ratings  ·  76 reviews
In this beautiful story of kindness and empathy, loneliness and love, one creature finds that the help he needs is just a song and a sigh away.

Whale's beautiful song winds its way through the ocean, reaching the farthest of faraways. His song is one of happiness and hope, magic and wonder--and Whale's fellow sea creatures are calmed, cheered, and lulled by it. But though W
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by Philomel Books
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  335 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lovely artwork- gentle watercolours give the story a dreamlike quality. Poetic, imaginative, poignant text- you will almost hear the whale's beautiful song and wonder what can help to fill his empty lonely heart.
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Anna first published this in Australia in 2018 and now it has made it to the states, thank goodness. Anna did the story and illustrations.

I love the artwork here, all done in watercolors. It's perfect for that blurry feeling I think of being underwater. I love how she is able to get the colors to look like they bleed like when it has too much water. The art perfectly compliments the poem that makes up this love story. She uses a few simple words to create lovely imagery.

The ocean loves the whale
Donna Backshall
I'm just going to sit here and cry for a while. Everything about this book is truly beautiful. ...more
Utterly exquisite watercolour illustrations. Heart ached while reading this. There is richness to this story in both text and images.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ms. B
Apr 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, picture
A love story with whales. The illustrations by Australian author Anna Pignataro are what make this story. Anna is adorable.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
I can't decide what was more beautiful about this book, the words or the pictures. ...more
Carla Johnson-Hicks
Whale sings a beautiful song that speaks to all sea creatures, but he is lonely. He does not think anyone/anything will fill his lonely heart. His friends swim far and wide to find him a companion/mate. This is a beautiful story. It is filled with musical words that might need to be explained to younger children such as orchestras, lullabies, sonatas, and symphonies. It will also teach various names for sea life. The text is beautiful and poetic and the illustrations are beautiful. They are done ...more
Richie Partington
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ps, picturebooks
Richie’s Picks: THE HEART OF A WHALE by Anna Pignataro, Philomel, January 2020, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-984-83627-4

“Watching and waiting
For someone to understand me
I hope it won’t be very long”
-- The Moody Blues (1969)

“Humans and whales have plenty of things in common. They are the largest groups of mammals in the world when it comes to distribution locations. They come in a variety of sizes and have different behaviors. They also create different behaviors and languages within their own cultures as
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
The Heart of a Whale by Anna Pignataro. PICTURE BOOK. Philomel Books (Penguin Random House), 2018. $18. 9781984836274



A whale with a beautiful song brightens everyone’s day who hears him as he swims along. Unfortunately whales’ song doesn’t make him happy and he feels alone until another whale hears his song and follows it. When they find each other they also find happiness.

The illustrations in this book are gorgeous watercolors with s
Shaye Miller
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
This was such a sweet story of loneliness. Whale sings a beautiful song that speaks volumes to all sea creatures, but in the end he longs for companionship. Will anyone be able to fill whale's empty heart? Yes, I do believe so. Filled with lovely musical metaphors that speak of drumbeats, orchestras, lullabies, sonatas, and symphonies, this quiet book with pastel water-colored artwork and poetic lyrics will showcase the power of friendship and the comfort of finally being heard.

For more children
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
The soft watercolor illustrations are the most striking thing about this book. They bring the ocean to life in soft focus. The font is difficult to read at times but looks like it's flowing through the water too.
Whale sings his song and calms other beings in the ocean. But, it does not fill his empty heart. The ocean itself wants to help so carries his song to bring it to another whale far away. They follow the song until the two are together and both sing their song.
Lovely messages for more mat
Lauren Paletta
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full of absolutely gorgeous illustrations! I was pulled in right away, following this whale through the beautifully, colored ocean floor and past all sorts of animals. Watching this whale travel far and wide to find another of his kind, to fill his heart in such a wide open ocean was heartwarming.
Jessica Ryan
Stunning illustrations. Truly entrancing. There's a story on every page. ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
sweet tale with beautiful illustrations
Christine Turner
Note: The font used and the size of the text encourages the reader to focus on the illustrations. I find the choice delightful visually. However, it is not supportive to those who are reading to large storytime groups, or in poor lighting.

In this beautiful story of kindness and empathy, loneliness and love, one creature finds that the help he needs is just a song and a sigh away.

Whale's beautiful song winds its way through the ocean, reaching the farthest of faraways. His song is one of happine
While the whale’s song of “happiness and hope, magic and wonder,” calms and cheers and lulls, their heart remains empty, their sea too quiet. It’s probably not the story to pair with any recent conversations on how giving is as (if not more) fulfilling than receiving. It but it does show how those who’ve benefited from the whale’s song and company can and will respond when the whale needs them. When the whale sighed, it “drifted away like a wish. A wish that the ocean carefully gathered and carr ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heart of a Whale is a beautiful picture book to be read out loud whilst spending time pouring over the illustrations that make you feel just like you are in the ocean alongside the whale and the other creatures he meets along the way.

Whale is all alone, he sings his song so everyone can hear. Some feel calm when they hear his song, others cheer up whilst some drift off to sleep.

But Whale is lonely and longs for the company of another whale, he sighs but as he sighs the ocean listens to his wish
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Maybe you could make a cool lesson out of listening to whale song and reading this book. Older kids would get the author's use of simile and metaphor.

It's one of those books that kids won't really like: beautifully moody watercolor and very small, very odd typeface for very intellectually challenging text ("A wish that the ocean carefully gathered and carried for him past seabeds, through fathoms, over dreaming turtles and forgotten treasure." What toddler/primary school kid will GET that?) make
We are all meant to live in relationship with others, and this lovely picture book celebrates the joy of sharing love, music, and kindness with those that need it most. With poetic text and beautiful illustrations, this book tells the story of a whale that sang so beautifully everyone in the ocean relied on her to fill their hearts with joy and emotion. But when the whale experienced the vastness of the world and felt lonely, she changed her tune. Young readers will enjoy finding out how the wha ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I LOVE the illustrations! The illustrations are beautiful, detailed, & display wonderful sea life creatures.

This is a great story about a whale whose song spreads among the sea life. To some, it is a happy sound, to others, a calming sound. It is a calming song, but it is one of loneliness. Then, when he lets out a sigh, this sigh reciprocates a wish that is carried through the sea & sea life to another whale. A whale follows the sound of the sigh & it seems that she has found a soulmate. The wh
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautiful watercolor illustrations, and vocabulary and imagery-rich text convey the message that it is not good for anyone--even a whale--to be alone. The simple plot is completely predictable, but still enjoyable. Many connections suggest themselves: Valentine's Day; mentor text for strong verbs, adjectives, simile, and metaphor; art/watercolor; ocean life; the Creation story. Depending on the application, this lovely picture book can be enjoyed in all elementary grades. ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hugh-read, depression
Sweet, simple, lovely glimpse of a beautiful whale whose song cheers and entertains all of the ocean creatures. But there was "no song big enough to fill his empty heart," despite the beauty he brought to others. His sigh of loneliness and sadness was also a sigh of hope, and that wish was heard by another whale, a stranger who answered his call and brought him joy. A lovely metaphor for depression and connection. ...more
Abby Johnson
Beautiful watercolor illustrations pair with a slight story about a lonely whale finding a friend. I guess not all whales necessarily travel in pods? Or maybe this one got separated from his pod? Unclear. But the whale wishes for a friend and the sea carries the wish to another whale who comes to find him and they live happily ever after.
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, 2020
Beautiful illustrations! The story is sweet, a whale sending a sad call out to the ocean, and the ocean carrying the call far away to another whale, who swims to find the caller. But the artwork is what makes this stand out. Watercolor illustrations that blend light and darkness and are a perfect match for a story about the sea.
Juliana Lee
A whale's song can reach the 'farthest of faraways'. It can bring joy and peace to the animals who hear it. But a whale can be lonely too. A sigh can also reach the 'farthest of faraways' and another whale who hears it can search for the lonely whale. And together they can sing of magic and wonder. ...more
Great Books
May 24, 2020 added it
Shelves: ages-3-5
This is a beautifully illustrated book about a lonely whale. The whale goes through the ocean singing, but can't find what he is looking for. The whale sings and hopes that a friend will find him. Eventually, a friend hears his songs. This book will take the reader through a beautiful journey under the sea. Reviewer 6 ...more
Feb 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Lonely whale cheers everyone with his song, grateful listeners then carry his wish to the farthest reaches. Love the lush watercolor illustrations, especially the little squiggles of song coming out of the whale mouths.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
The basic plot is that a lonely whale gets set up on a blind date by the other sea creatures and the whales hit it off and swim off to the happily ever after. I'm serious. Illustrations are lovely but the story does not really ever reach out and grab the reader. ...more
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Really love the watercolors here and all the details in the illustrations.

Story about being appreciated by others but still feeling lonely and how important a friend can be, but that plot is very thin.
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