And the Ocean Was Our Sky

by Patrick Ness and Rovina Cai

Bathsheba is Third Apprentice to Captain Alexandra, one of the great hunting whales.... read more

Bathsheba is Third Apprentice to Captain Alexandra, one of the great hunting whales. For whales, water is “sky,” and the “abyss” is the human world. They have a complex society, culture, and history, and they hunt humans largely for self-defense, but not always. When Captain Alexandra finds a ship with a lone human survivor, she recognizes the coin he holds, inscribed with the letters TW, as a sign from monstrous Toby Wick, the devil among humans who has cruelly killed so many whales in his great white ship. The Captain goes in single- minded pursuit of Wick, convinced the coin was a sign left for her because of events long ago. Bathsheba, put in charge of the human survivor, grows curious about him. By the time the Captain’s inevitable order comes to kill him, Bathsheba is reluctant. Why are we doing this? Bathsheba wonders. Is Toby Wick real, or a myth with only a bit of truth in its origins, one used to justify actions no different than killing done by humans? This remarkable reimagining of Moby Dick comes to an extraordinary climax, one that is tragic, shocking, and deeply moving. Teens do not need to have read the original book to find much to appreciate and consider. Illustrated sections of storytelling beautifully extend the mood in this provocative offering. (Age 13 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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