Mighty Moby by Barbara Dacosta

Mighty Moby by Barbara Dacosta

Mighty Moby by Barbara Dacosta, illustrated by Ed Young (9780316299367, Amazon)

This thrilling picture book tells the story of Moby Dick in a way that children can understand. The sailors sing of their travels and exploits. Then the captain shouts at a whale, giving chase. Finally, they reach the huge beast and send out boats that quietly row to his side. The captain throws his harpoon, spearing the beast who tows the captain down into the deeps. The whale again returns to the surface and then. Then the story takes a little twist away from the classic tale and into more familiar picture book territory: bath time.

In the author’s note, readers discover that the book was made backwards. Young created the art first out of collage and then Dacosta created the text,  the words all taken from the original tale except for one. It is quite an endeavor to turn the huge classic of Moby Dick into a picture book. This one works surprisingly well thanks to a clear focus on the whale and the captain and their battle with one another.

As always, Young’s art is superb. He creates true drama on the page here, as can be seen in the cover image. The spearing of the whale introduces scarlet streams of blood onto the page along with the white of the whale and blue water. They dramatic dive into the water, keeps the red tinge to the whale and emphasizes the size difference between man and whale.

An exceptional work of picture book art. Appropriate for ages 6-8.

Reviewed from library copy.