Kirkus Reviews QR Code
PEGGONY-PO by Andrea Davis Pinkney


A Whale of a Tale

by Andrea Davis Pinkney & illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7868-1958-8
Publisher: Hyperion

A fearless young whaler leads a fearsome whale on a merry chase, triggering the Great Whale Bet of 1847. Monster whale Cetus “loved to smash boats” and “ate anything that got in his way.” When sailor Galleon Keene tries to harpoon Cetus, the whale snaps his boat and bites off his leg. Later, Galleon wishes for a son, and the boy he carves out of driftwood comes alive. Named Peggony-Po, the boy is “feisty as a kettle of just-caught fish.” He brags he will capture Cetus, and the ship’s crew bet on whether the cocky boy will succeed. Diving into the ocean, Peggony-Po holds onto the fierce Cetus with a seaweed harness. For three days, boy and whale circle the globe like a “traveling spectacle,” until Peggony-Po tricks Cetus. Dramatic swirling illustrations in bold blacks and blues accentuate the turbulent maritime action, showcasing tiny Peggony-Po astride giant Cerus. Reminiscent of tall-tale heroes like Pecos Bill and John Henry, Peggony-Po and his larger-than-life seafaring antics result in a rollicking Moby-Dick for the small set. (author’s note, glossary, further reading) (Picture book. 4-7)