Ida and the Whale

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

Ida and the Whale
By Rebecca Gugger
This was a strange little book to me. I loved the illustrations and fonts of the book. I didn’t care for the story. My 7-year-old son enjoyed that she was on an adventure and where her imagination leads her, however. 
I was given the privilege to read this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review which is stated here.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The pictures are wonderfully illustrated, but I didn't find a lot of sense in the story. Ida has questions, and her new friend the Whale takes her out to discover some answers. There's a bit about friendship, and a bit about discovery, but I'm not sure which was supposed to be the prominent lesson of the book.
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This is such a precious book! The illustrations are amazing and pulled me in immediately. I love the imagination that went into this -- from Ida, from the author. The whole thing is just beautiful and I'd recommend it to any child to stimulate their wonderful imagination.
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When I was a kid, I lived in a valley with a creek to the east of our property and a small stream that ran between us and our neighbor's yard. After a storm, that little stream swelled to the tops of the banks with water and my sisters and I would put together boats with whatever materials we had on hand. Paper, mayo jar lids, sticks. Whatever would float and then we would see if we could race it to where the small culvert dumped into the larger creek.

The illustrations in Ida and the Whale, by Rebecca Gugger, from page one took me right back to that stream and those afternoons we spent in the creek. Making boats, making-believe we were stranded on an island and only had the woods and water to sustain us.

Ida is a girl who questions the world. She wants to see all the big things in the universe. The sun, the moon, the stars, and through her imagination she calls a whale to swim her through the forest of birch trees to touch the sky.

Fantastical? Yes. Whimsical? For sure. Ida is the child that still is inside each one of us, if we could put away our grown up logic and systems and worries. After reading this book, I wanted to take off my shoes and go stomp in a puddle or find a field to lay in and

Just. Hear. Silence.

Ida and the Whale, won't make sense to most adults, but I know when you read this book to your child she will dream big and isn't that the magic of stories?
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This book has lovely illustrations to go along with a fantastic story. It is sure to grab any child's attention.
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I loved the color saturation in the artwork. The deep colors are beautiful. I also really liked the story, especially the flower flying away so it can grow again. I would definitely purchase this for a children’s collection.
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Let's start with the absolute best aspect of this children's book, the illustrations.  They are beautifully imagined, wonderfully created, and fantastically evocative.  While the proverb teaches us not to judge a book by its cover, that is exactly what I did when requesting this title from the  publisher through #NetGalley.  The images alone are worth the time.

I struggled more with the text. I had trouble connecting the imaginative destinations with the overall story arc of "what lies beyond the sun, moon, and stars."  I also struggled to connect to the fantasy world as a whale is flying presumably through the air and not water and yet, water plays a role in other places.  My second time through the book, I was far more deliberate, pausing to take in the scenery and attempting to capture of the of the imaginative content that was perhaps in the images and not in the text.  This was profitable in helping me leave behind the natural rules of our world for a truly fantasy world.  This made it easier to see that Ida was simply on a journey to find those things that are beyond or behind the natural world.

Overall it simply felt like the images were created and then later an attempt was made to fit a text to the images which didn't quite reach simpatico.  And yet the illustrations carry the day. 4 stars

#NetGalley #IdaAndTheWhale
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Ida and the Whale by Rebecca Gugger is a beautifully illustrated picture book about a child’s dream. This book's strength is its pictures. The soft colors with just the right amount of pop added to them were quite stunning. There is so much to look at on each page, but to me that was where it ended. The story itself was a bit of a letdown. Ida and the Whale has a wonderful premise, but unfortunately, the execution was not great. The plot was not as developed and I felt that it was a bit too philosophical for children to understand. The gist of this book seems to be use your imagination and Ida does that to see what is beyond the sun, moon, and stars, but there needs to be more to this book for me to recommend it to others. I seem to be in the minority with this opinion, so check it out for yourself and see what you think. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
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An absolutely spellbinding and gorgeous look at the power of imagination and unlikely friendships. Highly recommended.
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I absolutely adore the artwork in this picture book. It evokes so much mood and emotion, while still remaining cute and charming. It's so gorgeous and whimsical that I wanted to live inside this world. 

The story is well-told, and the vocabulary is good. There are a lot of contrasting terms, and the dialogue is strong. That makes this a great read for early learning. 

Since I sit on a picture book committee and read and rate quite a few of them each year, I tend to be picky. For whatever reason, I just really enjoyed this one, even though it's a bit understated, especially with the ending. The story is simple and heartfelt. 

This is one instance where a simple story is so blessed to have such amazing artwork that evokes so many emotions. Had this been paired with lesser artwork, I might have considered it an average read, but the story and artwork together made this so enjoyable.
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This book has easily jumped to the list of our 'must own' books for the 2019 book season.  Every page is a delight for the eyes and ears of the reader.  Beautiful text matched with whimsical illustrations made this book one we did not want to end.  I read this to my elementary aged children one night during story time.  As we turned to the last page, I swear we all sighed, and then held onto that moment for as long as we could curled up on my big bed surrounded by comfy pillows and blankets.  The moment that book created in that room could not be more lovely.  This book needs to be shared and read and lovely reading moments created by all.  VERY Well done!
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Such a charming story of adventure, friends and loneliness. The artworks adds so much to the story and I love how the text is organized.
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A beautiful and mysterious picture book. The illustrations are whimsical and dreamlike, and the story will make both children and grown-ups think about their place in the universe.
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The watercolor illustrations in this book are just stunning. The text was well done but maybe a little too philosophical for younger readers as it may create more questions than answers. The whimsical images were the most powerful part of this book for us and bring you along this dreamlike journey. Thank you to NetGalley and NorthSound Books for an e-copy of this book.
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With its stunning watercolour illustrations, Ida and the whale will take you on a journey into a dreamy world of a child’s imagination.
 Ida is a quiet and curious child. She often sits outside her birch tree house and wonders if there is anything beyond the sun, the moon and the stars. One night she dreams of a giant flying whale that invites her to go on a special adventure. Ida and the whale talk about many things, some ordinary, some special, and quickly become very good friends who are so comfortable with each other that they are not afraid ‘to share a silence’. After a violent storm, they get separated for a brief moment and Ida is engulfed in her loneliness (the illustrations render her emotions so beautifully, to the point of making the reader feel her despair). The whale comes back with a reassuring message of always being there for her.
Some readers might find the story a bit on the short side and not entirely logical, but, if you bear in mind that this is a dream, Ida’s journey becomes easier to understand.’ Sometimes you can only understand others if you stand on your head yourself’. 
I think this is not a read aloud but more of a read-along-with-me book, as the child needs to see the pictures which make the book so special.
Thank you NetGalley and North South Books for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
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This is one of those children's stories where the adults might not really get it but the children hearing (or reading) it feel like it's come from their own minds. The watercolour backgrounds and unique illustrations complement the gorgeous writing of Rebecca Gugger so well. From storms to growing to loneliness, Ida and the Whale is a special little book that I could see becoming a favourite for any child whose imagination leaves them feeling inspired and yet alone at the same time. 
I was a child like this. I imagined all these wondrous things and then was always disappointed that the real world wasn't as interesting as I'd hoped. However at some point I started to learn about how plants breathe or planets orbit or eggs hatch babies and suddenly I'd be reminded that the world is a special place. I feel like Ida and the Whale has captured some of that magic, both real and imaginary that many children have. This is a wondrous book that any child is likely to connect with on some level. Although the Discworld fan in me kind of wishes the whale was a turtle. 
The writing is gorgeous in this children's book but my favourite line is: 
"Sometimes you can only understand others if you stand on your head yourself."
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This is a STUNNING picture book that tells a tale of an adventurous girl and a whale. The illustrations are delightful and full of incredible detail, and the story is well-written and imaginative. 

*I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
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Ida and the Whale by Rebecca Gugger is a beautifully illustrated picture book about a child’s dream. The soft colors with just the right amount of pop added to them captivated the children and were quite stunning.


The story itself Ida and the Whale were not as captivating as we hoped. Ida and the Whale has a wonderful premise, but unfortunately, the execution was not great. The story itself left us wanting more, but not in a good way. The plot was not as developed as I wanted, which left the children with a lot of questions.
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Rebecca Guggar has written an adorable, whimsical children’s book about a little girl who lives in a tree, and explores the extraordinary world beyond the stars on the back of a huge whale. My imaginative 6 year old absolutely loved this book and the delightful illustrations accompanying it!
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A dream come to life via the pages of this book – that is what it felt like as I read this book. Simon Röthlisberger’s illustrations wow with their whimsy and are definitely the star of this book.

The story itself – as I mentioned, is dream-like, complete with narratives that seem to move randomly from one to the other and you wonder if you missed something, and you realize it is just a dream! You know, like a movie where the scene suddenly cuts to something else and you rewind back to a moment ago (if you happen to watch it somewhere where you can do that).

Since this is a book, I flip back a page to check if I missed a page but am fine. Once I decided to read it with the dream assumption, I totally enjoyed it.

And at the risk of repeating myself, the water-color illustrations that take your imagination on a wonderful journey, made it more enjoyable. I also loved how the text itself is printed on the pages, with different fonts and in unique ways to be more in line with the words being said.

In Summary:
If you love flights of fancy and whimsical illustrations, then this book is for you! Granted, this is not a book that works well for a read-aloud, but it does wonders to your imagination..

Rating: B
Reading Level: 5 – 9 years
Reread Level: 3/5 (4.5 for just the illustrations)

Disclaimer: Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital review copy of the book above. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any other way by the publishers or others for this review.
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