Patience is a virtue, right? But, man, is it sometimes impossible to get those little ones to sit still! If You Want to See a Whale, written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by the great Erin Stead, is one of those subtle, unassuming and quietly powerful books that I could read again and again. Notwithstanding its simplicity, this story packs a powerful message about the experience of waiting, being mindful, and the wondrous journey that opens up before our eyes as we patiently travel the road to achievement. It’s an older pick for Happily Ever Elephants, but it remains a favorite in our home.
If you want to see a whale, you have to keep your eyes peeled on the sea. And you have to wait, of course. And wait, and wait, and wait. You also need to know what not to look at, because if you look at pink roses and pirates or pelicans, you may be distracted. And if you get distracted, you may not see the whale leap from the depths of the deep blue sea. So will he or won’t he?! Only one way to find out.
The simple act of getting what we want- from the smallest to the largest goals- takes patience, but we all know that patience is not an easy practice for a child who is so easily distracted. If You Want to See a Whale helps us convey the dual messages that while achieving our dreams is well worth the wait, the journey to reaching those goals is a reward in and of itself. Exquisite illustrations pair perfectly with Fogliano’s spare prose, resulting in a true masterpiece. If You Want to See a Whale gets two whale-sized trunks up! Pair this with Kevin Henkes Waiting for a wonderful primer on patience.
Want the book? Get it here! If You Want to See a Whale, by Julie Fogliano. *This is an affiliate link.