The humpback whale is a massive, yet gentle creature - as John Archambault describes in The Birth of a Whale. The book uses lyrical language to illustrate the life cycle of this immense mammal. The reader travels along for the ride as the author gives a first-hand account of the events surrounding the birth of a humpback whale. The text begins with a description of how the adult humpback whale moves through the water – “gently”; “singing, dancing”; “gently moving”; “rolling forward, rocking slowly”. The author includes the sounds that the adult whales make as they communicate to each other in the ocean. Prior to the birth of the baby whale, the father humpback whale sings “a song to comfort and calm” the mother humpback whale. The joyous occasion of the birth of a whale is threatened by the danger the baby whale faces; the mother whale has only a few seconds to help her baby reach the surface of the water to breathe in its first puffs of air. Thus, begins the life of a gentle, yet giant creature as it learns how to dually live “in both water and air”; all the while following its mother – moving, growing, singing, feeding, diving, living peacefully – in the “deep water dark”.
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