Whales and Us

Whales and Us

A review of Whales and Us by India Desjardins

Published on March 14, 2024

In May 2020, not long after the world was plunged into a global pandemic and forced into quarantine, the presence of a humpback whale in Montreal’s harbour was a sight to behold for the thousands who flocked to witness the incredibly rare occurrence. This local whale tale is but a snippet found in the astonishing picture book originally written in French by India Desjardins, translated by David Warriner, and illustrated by Nathalie Dion (FYI, I’m an official fan of Dion’s now after also loving her work in Kumo: The Bashful Cloud).

Whales and Us
Our Shared Journey

India Desjardins
Translated by David Warriner
Illustrated by Nathalie Dion

Orca Books

Moved by her personal fascination with the largest living creatures on Earth, Whales and Us: Our Shared Journey is the author’s proclamation of just how extraordinary whales are. As readers learn about whale anatomy, communication styles, and behaviour, we’re also lured into the more mysterious depths of old myths and legends, immersed in Dion’s use of soft aquarelle lines and cool, yet deep, colour palette.

Due to its awe factor, the book is reminiscent of the much-loved Childcraft encyclopedia of yesteryear – it’s visually stimulating and loaded with interesting facts, creating an effect that will have readers poring over the pages trying to soak it all in. What’s more, Desjardins takes the educational and inspirational aspects of her book even further by touching on themes like climate change and human activity as threats to the welfare of the natural world. A list of how to protect whales and other marine life included at the end of the book also encourages readers of all ages to take action, making it a worthwhile choice for shared reading time.mRb

Phoebe Yī Lìng is a freelance writer, editor, and full-time explorer. She currently works with the Nunavik Inuit community as a Gladue writer and sometimes spends her time dabbling in experimental performance or marvelling at the complexities of intra/interpersonal communication.



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