CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Welwyn Katz.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood/Douglas & McIntyre, 1990.
212pp., cloth, $16.95.
ISBN 0-88899-113-4. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Buried treasure-Fiction.

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up

Reviewed by Margaret Mackey.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

When Nick, aged seventeen, joins a conservation group working on the California coast, he discovers that his father has found him a job with the man he blames for his brother's death, Ray Pembroke, a highly respected conservationist and fund raiser. Nick's rage is compounded as he begins to suspect that Pembroke is using the conservation project as a smoke screen while he hunts for a frigate sunk in Sir Francis Drake's day. Together with Marty, a babysitter accompanying a family working at the site, Nick looks for evidence to support an accusation that most people would find laughable.

Whalesinger is a lively and contemporary adventure story. The plot revolves around such up-to-date elements as conservation, computers, whale-saving, California earthquakes, modern underwater treasure-hunting - even a specific learning disability. Nick and Marty come to terms with problems that seemed suffocating in Vancouver, Nick by confronting his demon, and Marty by creating a relationship with two whales stranded in the shallow bay.

If anything, this book is too crowded with incident - too many sub-themes, too many accidents and emergencies. It hovers on the brink of clutter more than once. In the end, however, Katz ties up all her loose ends and achieves a coherent and attractive story.

This book was nominated for the Governor General's award.

Margaret Mackey, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.
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