"A whale sings, history repeats itself, and two teen-agers find what they
most need in this haunting, complex story. Boldly drawn characters; a
finely tuned plot; well-articulated ecological concerns."
-- Kirkus Reviews (pointer review), Jan.1, 1991.
-- School Library Journal, May, 1991
"Whalesinger is a gripping and provocative novel... How satisfying to
encounter literature that just happens to be written for a younger
-- The Toronto Star, December 8, 1990.
"This beats (Katz's) earlier fantasy The Third Magic eight ways to Sunday,
well conceived as it was."
-- Santiago Library System, July, 1991.
"High school age students should stay intrigued all the way through to the
-- Christian Schools International, Spring, 1992
"Despite its title, Whalesinger is neither science fiction nor high fantasy;
it is, instead, a tour de force wherein two separate genres are linked: a
rousing adventure story about sunken treasure and an exquisitely sensitive
account of the emotions and communications of a mother whale confronting the
possible death of her late-born calf."
-- San Francisco Reading Association Newsletter 191, October 1991
"Katz's control over her material in this novel is masterly. The plot is
continually fascinating. This novel should be too complex to work well in
its 212 pages, yet it works extremely well... And woven throughout all is
the Song of the whale, tying places and times together in a unity that
transcends all the individual elements of the novel, making it a spiritual
tour de force as well. This is one novel not to be missed."
-- Canadian Children's Literature, Volume 64, 1991.
"Katz has created a fascinating, multi-layered novel around a framework of
-- The Calgary Herald, Nov. 10, 1990
"This expertly crafted story is part fantasy, part romance, and part
suspense -- but the heart of it, and the shining thread that ties it all
together, is the mysterious, magical presence of the great gray whales."
-- The Christian Science Monitor, May 10, 1991
"This multilevel novel is sure to please the older teen reader interested in
marine studies and sunken treasures. It is made more realistic and
appealing by the research acknowledgments which are as exciting to read as
the text. ...Highly Recommended."
-- Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 1991.
(5Q review = 'hard to imagine it being better written.')
"Katz has crafted a wonderfully imaginative story of mystery, adventure and
factual information... When Nick and Marty discover that the conservation
project is a front for a scheme to plunder the antique treasures of one of
Sir Francis Drake's sunken frigates, a tense confrontation occurs that
brings all the strands of this remarkable story to an exciting climax. Well
written and highly recommended for young adults."
-- The Winnipeg School Division Materials Evaluation Form, December, 1990
"Katz succeeds in drawing every thread of her story line together for this
dramatic climax, without reforming her characters or offering moral
judgments. For this reason, as well as for the book's complexity, this book
would be appropriate to teach in the middle grades."
-- Canadian Book Review Annual, 1990
"This well-written story of intrigue and romance is spellbinding."
-- Montgomery County District Center Children's Book Review Committee, May 8, 1991
-- Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Reviews of All Resources, June, 1991.
"Whalesinger is a lively and contemporary adventure story... coherent and
-- Canadian Materials, March, 1991
-- The Book Report, September/October, 1991
"This is a captivating story with just enough mystery and romance to keep
you turning the pages. It is very well written with a lyrical quality that
I found intriguing."
-- District Media Center, Round Rock ISD, date not given
"Katz has written a compelling novel. Right from the first chapter her
readers are drawn into the unfolding drama. A sense of foreboding and
excitement kept me riveted to the very end. The characters are all
well-developed. Each is brought to life through Katz's sensitive writing."
-- St. Catherine's Calvinist Contact, March 29, 1991
"Finely crafted, its sensitivity and lyricism give it a sophistication and
depth of feeling that make Whalesinger a thoughtful and truly satisfying
-- North Toronto Herald, September 27, 1990
"The many sub-plots in this book are so finely intertwined that they all
creatively build to an absolutely fascinating climax. This was one of the
best books I've read in a long time!"
-- Maine Examination Collection of Children's and Young Adult Books, April 4, 1991
"Brand new and quite wonderful is Welwyn Wilton Katz's Whalesinger, a
many-layered, intense and passionate novel... All these threads are
seamlessly wound together in this brilliant, dramatic and altogether
fascinating book. Katz, already one of our best authors of novels for
teens, continues to grow."
-- Hamilton Spectator, November 3, 1990
"Highly recommended as (an) exceptional presentation for young adults."
-- The Midwest Book Review, aired April 3, 1992 on television.
"Whalesinger is a lively and contemporary adventure... a choherent and attractive story."
-- CM: A Reviewing Journal of Canadian Materials for Young People, Vol. XIX, No. 2, March, 1991
"A longely gray whale sings her songs of the sea to her sick calf. She is summering in Drake's Bay, off the coast of California at Point Reyes, waiting for the calf to heal. She waits and sings.
Seventeen year old nick has joined a conservation research project as Dr. Anderson's research assistant on Point Reyes. There he meets Marty, a shy 15 year old girl who is babysitting the children of two marine biologists. Together Nick and Marty learn that Dr. Pembroke, the project commander, is using the project as a cover to plunder the supposed treasure of a sunken frigate belonging to Sir Francis Drake. Marty also learns that she hears the whalesong. And what she hears from the waiting whale changes her life completely.
This multilevel novel is sure to please the older teen reader interested in marine studies and sunken treasures. It is made more realistic and appealing by the research acknowledgements which are as exciting to read as the text. A map of Point Reyes National Seashore is included. Highly recommended."
-- Voice of Youth Advocates, Vol. 14, No. 1, April, 1991
"In a sturdy framework of the ecology and geology of Point Reyes and Drake's Bay, Katz threads an inticrate warp that features a group of scientists engaged in research, a historical occurrence on Drake's ship, the migration pattern of the gray whale, and an impending earthquake and accompanying tsunami. Over and under this she waves a complex pattern of sceince, personalities, a lost treasure, and a whale mother with an ailing baby. Nick, 17, is not yet over the death of his loved older brother. Marty, 16, has learning difficulties, but an innate empathy that appeals to Nick, and that allows her to communicate with the whale mother. A lot goes on here, including a first-rate introduction to scientific methods. Clearly depicted are the strange behaviors often observed in animals just prior to a major earthquake. The major characters, although battered, come through alive, and perhaps more whole to face their future. Intriguing."
-- School Library Journal, Vol. 37, No. 5, May, 1991.
"The characterization is superb. Both Marty and Nick, with all their fears, resentments, pain, and desires are clearly portrayed. Both develop consistently and convincingly throughout the novel. Marty's growing relationship with whales, and her ability to communicate with the mother is finely and movingly portrayed, her deep need for affirmation and the mother whale's deep loneliness reach out to the other, creating a link between human and cetacean which is profound. Katz actually presents part of some perceptions of this relationship and the world through the whale's mind, an audacious step for any fiction writer. However, this technique works, partially because Katz has managed to make the whale's perceptions and ways of thinking alien enough that the animal does not become antropomorphized, and partially because of the very human-seeming feelings of the whale -- feelings of loneliness, isolation, concern for her calf, grief, love. Somehow the alieness of the perceptions and the humanness of the motions combine to create a powerful unity that become the whale, and could be nothing else.
The plot is also engaging. Katz uses a mystery format in this novel, centering the action of the plot on both a suspected murder and an illegal search for sunken treasure.
Katz's control over her material in this novel is masterly. The plot is continually fascinating. This novel should be too complex to work well in its 212 pages, yet it works extremely well, because of the author's skill in being succinct and yet penetrating in what she does present. The theme of the importance of emotional openness and love to heal many of the hurts even young people have already sustained informs this novel on every level. Tied in with this theme is the idea of trust, the need for vulnerability, and respect of the other, the damaging effects of hatred and bitterness, the need for forgiveness. And woven throughout all is the Song of the whale, tying places and times together in a unity that transcends all the individual elements of the novel, making it a spiritual tour de force as well. This is one novel not to be missed."
-- Canadian Children's Literature, No. 64, 1991
©All Rights Reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all website content (except comments by others) copyright Welwyn Wilton Katz. Educators need not purchase a license for use, if already covered by Access Copyright permission.