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The Song of the Whales

Uri Orlev
AGE: 8 up

This unique story deals with the special relationship between grandfather and grandson. Michael is a rather solitary only child who loves spending time with his grandfather. Grandfather`s house is very special: it contains all sorts of works of art and antiques. In the basement there is a wide variety of tools because Grandfather is good with his hands. When Grandfather becomes frail, he sells his house and moves in with his son`s family. Through the eyes of the boy, we find out about all the unpleasant undercurrents regarding money and inheritance, not to mention details about Grandfather`s housekeeper who, it is rumored, was once his lover.
The bond between Michael and his grandfather veers to the mystical when the elderly man starts taking his grandson along with him at night in his dreams. The two fly off together, sharing strange, wonderful and sometimes frightening experiences. In one dream, two grandfathers appear and Michael does not know who to turn to. Later, Grandfather explains that one is his good side and the other his bad side. Michael is clearly shaken by this dream. When Grandfather dies, he leaves Michael a mystical legacy which will bind the two forever.

Illustrations: Michel Kishka

The Song of the Whales
Title The Song of the Whales
Author’s Last Name Orlev
Author's First Name Uri
Language(s) Hebrew, English, French, Italian, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Serbian, Spanish
Genre youth
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1997
No. Pages 90 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Shirat Ha-Leviatanim
Representation Represented by ITHL


Italian: Milan, Feltrinelli, 2000; new ed.: 2014 
Dutch: Baarn, Fontein, 2002
French: Paris, Gallimard, 2003
Spanish: Caracas, Playco, 2006
Serbian: Belgrade, Book & Marco, 2008
English: New York, Houghton Mifflin, 2010, pback: 2010
Japanese: Tokyo, Iwanami Shoten, 2010
Chinese (simplified): Nanjing, Jiangsu Children's Pub., 2016
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