Benji Davies, The Storm Whale in Winter
Published 2016 by Simon and Schuster, 32p
It is not summer yet and Sydney is already confronting the strength of the sun; I love to see people’s happiness and their holiday mood but I cannot associate the decorations in the stores and the trees with this hot weather. I still believe that Christmas is about snow, chilly weather and hot wine with cinnamon.
Leaving apart the consumerist tendencies that sometimes threat Christmas, this beautiful moment of the year is about emotions. There is a metamorphosis I sense in people, even in myself. We do tend to become better, don’t we?
The Storm Whale in Winter is a beautiful book for this season; I could feel the smell of winter and hear the sound of snow crunching under boots. We do not need to read only Santa Claus stories to enter the magic of winter; we need to remember the values that define us and the connections that make us stronger and happier.
As you probably remember from The Storm Whale, Noi lives only with his father and their six cats in a house by the sea. Last summer, after a strong storm, the boy rescued a whale and took it back to its family.
But Noi could not forget his friend. Nostalgic he draws pictures of the whale and hopes to catch a glimpse of it…. But it was always something else. One day, when Noi’s dad takes a trip in his fishing boat and doesn’t return the boy ventures on the frozen sea to look for him. Soon he gets lost.
The further Noi went the harder the snow fell, until everywhere looked the same.
The boy finds the boat empty. Alone and scared, Noi does nothing but wait and hope. And this time it will be the whale’s turn to save its little friend.
The artwork is impressive and beautifully captures the essence of a true friendship, the bravery of a worried child and the impressiveness of nature.
Complement The Storm Whale in Winter with Grandad’d Island, a moving allegory by Benji Davies on the death of a grandparent.