Center for Children's Literature Blog

Children’s Book Committee – December 2019 Pick

The Fisherman and the WhaleThe fisherman and the whale
Author: Jessica Lanan

Evocative watercolors and gouache illustrations capture the agony of a magnificent whale caught in a fisherman’s netting. Author’s note illuminates this wordless book.

Our Young Reviewers Say:

This book was different because it had NO WORDS! My mom and I made a story up of a dad and his son going on a fishing trip. They see a big whale in danger and at first the dad says they don’t have time; they can’t. The son says, “WE HAVE TO!” So the dad and some other people save the whale. When the dad is swimming back, he looks tired, and so the son has to save him. In the end the whale jumps out of the water to say: “Thank you for saving me!” That is the end.

–Penelope, 6 years old, New York, NY.

Young people who are interested in reviewing are invited to do so as we welcome the individual perspective of our age appropriate readers. If you are interested in being a reviewer, contact

See our Monthly Picks Archive 2012–2018, and our Monthly Picks 2019–present.