I have read other stories about whales who have lived for centuries, as I am sure you have, too. But what makes The Whale Who Swam Through Time: A Two-Hundred-Year Journey in the Artic so wonderful is the illustrations.
The story is nice, not overly pushy but gets the point across. You know this is a story not just about a whale that could live up to over 200 years-old, but an environmental book as well. Yet, when it comes to the art, that is where you can see how things move along, how they change and how the story might end someday. They are rich, lush and a perfect match for the text. They are detailed in ways that mean you must read them, too, as you cannot rely on text alone to tell the tale of this creature. They illustrate the changing of the ice, the land, the community that was started during the whaling years. You see how the times have changed, with the types of ships and the fact vehicles are seen. You watch as the whale grows and in a poetic nature documentary way, tells the story of their 200 years.
Alex Boersma and Nick Pyenson show the reader how a whale is born, grows, lives, survives, gives birth, lives to see grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and see how the world around them can change. And not always a change for the better. A once peaceful ocean will one day have the sounds of whalers, oil riggs and finally even the ships that go underwater, the submarines. You see how the whales and other sea life are injured, killed, and changed with the noises and people that make them. This is how the environmental ideas come into play, by showing how they naturally would happen to the way the people where.
The picture book format might turn off the ages six to eight crowd, but it is good for all ages. It is tastefully done, even while talking and showing some of the whaling scenes. But the very young or sensitive child might not be ready for it.