One of my favorite things about picking up a Patrick Ness book is that I have no idea what I’m going to get. It might be a sweet, sad story like A Monster Calls, a dystopian trilogy like Chaos Walking, a realistic coming-of-age story like Release, a semi-realistic story with a dash of supernatural like The Rest of Us Just Live Here, a crazy mystery like More Than This review, or a flip on a classic tale like And The Ocean Was Our Sky.
Anytime Goodreads tells me Ness has a new book coming out, I hop over to my library and place a request. They are great about buying his books, and I’m usually the only one to request it. When I picked this one up, I saw a boat and a whale on the cover and noticed it was illustrated. Huh. That’s not what I was expecting, but really, I just never know what he’s going to come up with, so anything goes. And, because I didn’t read the book jacket, I had no idea what this book was about, so it took me a few pages to understand what was going. The story is told from the perspective of a whale named Bathsheba (First line of the book: Call me Bathsheba….. do you see where this is headed??) who is an apprentice in a pod of whales searching for a man named, wait for it….. wait for it……. wait for it……… Toby. Wick. COME. ON!!! I WAS SOLD. Immediately. Part of me realized that this could be the dumbest book written, but it’s not. Truly. It’s brilliant and creative and is an amazing way to introduce the Moby Dick story to younger kids.
The plot really is pretty basic. Bathsheba’s pod attacks a ship of men, captures one of the sailors, and keeps him for information about Toby Wick. You quickly realize the whales are vastly smarter than men, and the rationale behind the hunt is explained. There are some really beautiful illustrations to accompany this creative story. You really can’t go wrong with reading a book by Patrick Ness. He’s just supremely talented and his stories are varied. There’s something for everyone!