Title: The Whirlpool
by: Emily Larkin
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books
Life is full of brightness for one polar bear cub. But then shadows fall … and his world changes. The little cub must learn to hope again.
The Whirlpool is a beautiful story about feeling sad and happy, lonely and loved, small and big. This gentle, emotive tale will help children navigate their way through the ups and downs of life. There is a whirlpool in all of us.
The Whirlpool booktrailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJVItTPjdCk
One moment the world is your oyster, and in the next moment, the world swallows you whole. Author, Emily Larkin has created a poignant, simple story describing the emotional journey and turmoil that can follow children and adults alike in our walk in life. A polar bear cub is the main character in The Whirlpool. We follow his journey, feeling his joy and happiness at the world and people around him. Even the stars shine for him. He can’t put a foot wrong…
But then comes the whirlpool … closing in and pulling him down into the depths of sadness and loneliness, hiding the brightest stars. As time passes, a new star finally peeks out from the ocean sky. The polar bear cub smiles. It’s a new day.
Emily Larkin has approached the subject of ‘swirling’ emotions that a child may experience on their quest in life with a gentle, non-judgmental acceptance. Children will relate to the emotions of the polar bear cub in a non-threatening way, and may even think, ‘Hey – that’s me.’
A crucial part of this story is when the polar bear cub comes through the cycle of sad days, and inhales the colours around him again. The importance of this ending is significant, and can be healing, calming and overflowing with hope for children who feel that their sad days will never end.
Emily Larkin’s message to her readers is simple, but highly effective in the recognition and acknowledgement of life’s emotive journey. Children need to know that life is not always happy and fun. It can be full of blue days and sad times too, but these will pass.
Illustrator, Helene Magisson, has captured the changes of emotion in the story with her effective use of colour and changes in facial expressions on the polar bear cub. These elements reach out to the reader and touch the heart, creating a bond and empathy.
In a world of darkness and light, inside and outside of ourselves, The Whirlpool is a welcome story that may help children feel they are not so alone after all, and on the inside, we all feel the same way at different times in our lives. The Whirlpool’s value in open discussions about our inner emotions is considerable, and may lift the weight of life’s journey from some children, and help them to see the stars and breathe the colours around them again.
Purchase a copy of The Whirlpool: https://www.wombatbooks.com.au/index.php/whirlpool
Author: Emily Larkin
Illustrator: Helene Magisson
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Wombat Books
Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Editor, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
QLD Writers Centre
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