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Okino And The Whales by Arnica Esterl
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Okino And The Whales

by Arnica Esterl

Other authors: Marek Zawadzki (Illustrator)

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Originally published as Okino und die Wale, this picture-book from Arnica Esterl - a prolific children's translator whose fairy-tale work includes the German editions of a number of Hans Christian Andersen's tales, from Däumelinchen (Thumbelina) to Die Schneekönigin (The Snow Queen) - contains a story within a story, as a mother tells her young son an ancient tale concerning a woman who follows her daughter into the sea, striking a bargain with Iwa, the Great Mother of the Ocean, in order to free her child.

I'm not sure whether this tale is inspired by any work of mythology or folklore, or is the author's original creation, and Esterl provides no information on that score, but I found the resulting narrative rather uneven. Truthfully, I picked Okino and the Whales up because of the gorgeous cover art (and because I love whales), and I think Marek Zawadzki's illustrations are the real strength here. The cool serenity of his underwater scenes, and the warmth of those he sets on land, make an appealing contrast. I will definitely have to keep my eye out for more work by this Polish illustrator! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 23, 2013 |
Okino brings her son, Takumi to the sea to watch the whales. She begins to tell her son a story about a little girl who wondered to the sea bottom to the Royal Palace of the whales. The girls mother began to frantically search for her and finds her behind the wall of the Royal Palace. In order for the mother to get her daughter back, she is given a lengthy task from Iwa, the Great Mother of the Ocean. Once completing the task, she is able to get her daughter back. As Okino ends the story, she looks down only to realize that Takumi has fallen asleep. ( )
  taramankin | Jan 23, 2012 |
This fairy tale is a story within a story, accompanied by illustrations so beautiful and realistic that they could be mistaken for photographs. The story is of a young Japanese mother and son who are watching the whales from the rocks. The mother then tells her son the story of the girl who went to the royal palace of the whales, and how her mother brought her home. Ultimately, this is a story about the bond and devotion between mother and child, which features incredible artwork. A picture book not to be missed! Recommended for ages 5-8. ( )
  rsamet | Dec 18, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arnica Esterlprimary authorall editionscalculated
Zawadzki, MarekIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0152003770, Hardcover)

Watching the mysterious whales that return year after year, Okino introduces her son, Tamuki, to the story of Iwa, the Great Mother of the Ocean, for whom another mother once had to perform a long and courageous task.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:32 -0400)

As a mother waits with her son for the whales to return to the bay, she relates a story about a girl who visited the royal palace of the whales.

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