Willard Price wasa childhood favourite of mine and I wondered whether the girls would like a 'boy's book'. No need to worry, they love them. The books are a little dated but time never stands in the way of a great adventure. Especially one that has strong characters, animals and baddies too!
Willard Price (28 July 1887 – 14 October 1983) almost made it to 100. Unreal!! What a life of natural history, travel and exposure to animals as well as literary genius. I remember spending so many hours as a kid lost in a faraway place reading about Hal and Roger and their many adventures around the world in search of animals for their father's zoo. It was really the take em back alive spirit that shone through, I wonder if Steve Irwin ever read them?
The one we have just read and inspired us to watch Moby Dick too was whale adventure. It is quite different from the others as it misses the bring them back alive element and mixes old school whaling, Moby Dick and modern whaling ships. It is almost a history lesson as much as an adventure. In the same way Moby Dick takes you back to the days where men scoured the seas in search of whales and their oil for so many purposes, the vocabulary of whale adventure and it's nautical terms was at first tricky. Once we got beyond this the girls loved it.
Contrasting it with Moby Dick is also interesting- there are a lot of parallels!
The crazy old captain, the feisty whales and edge of seat story lines. The biggest lesson learned by our girls are that whales are beautiful but powerful creatures. As per Moby Dick- he was only protecting his girls and only when they hurt him did he take revenge with serious consequences.
It also seems a great way to have introduced the girls to a literary heavyweight such as Moby Dick- there is no way they would have read it themselves at the ages of 6 and 8. They really enjoyed both the book and movie.
I even found a link to a schooltype lesson on Whale Adventure.
In the end though,I think what really touched us was that whales are amazing animals and the girls are also into the save the whale idea. The power of them as they breach is also amazing to see. We are also excited as we often go out to the Great Barrier Reef and the whales are just starting to arrive. I'll see if I can post a photo or video when we actually see one in real life.
Long live the whale.
As an aside- and thanks to Wikipedia, these are all the books of Willard Price: