4 out of 4 stars
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"The ocean is a beautiful thing, my friend, from shore to shore, and end to end."
Johnny DePalma introduces children to the magical beauty of the sea as seen from a unique creature in his enchanting story, 52 - A Tale of Loneliness. Breathtakingly illustrated by Kyle Brown, the story is inspired by facts about the 52-hertz whale named for its unusually high-frequency pitch. Young readers will enjoy exploring the underwater surroundings of 52's beloved home while learning to embrace individuality.
The 28-page story is pristinely edited. It features lyrical prose, whimsical illustrations, and an endearing hero. Although 52 experiences loneliness and sometimes feels invisible, he still sings, and his tale is not a sad one. The good-natured whale exemplifies themes of self-acceptance, individuality, contentment, bravery, joy, and empathy. The book includes a link to a companion audiobook read in a soothing tone by Patton Oswalt. Readers who are members of Amazon Prime will also have access to the entertaining video that brings the adorable whale to life. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it!
It's apparent why this charming book is the recipient of a Mom's Choice Gold Award. I especially like the way the beautiful illustrations capture the whale's facial expressions and various emotions. As 52 describes his loneliness and longing for a friend "...who's kind, and smart, and true," DePalma effectively validates feelings that are relatable to children of various ages.
There isn't anything I dislike about the delightful picture book, but I would suggest including an Amazon preview. While lovely cover images are available, they fall short of capturing the book's overall beauty. The inclusion of a few sample pages would further pique the interest of prospective readers.
It is my pleasure to rate this exceptional children's book 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to parents, teachers, grandparents, and children through the age of nine. Also, the companion audiobook and Prime video will likely appeal to families with young children.
52 - A Tale of Loneliness
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