The Great Whale of Kansas
By Richard W. Jennings
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Hardcover, 9780618102280, 160pp.)
Publication Date: September 2001
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As a young boy begins to dig a hole in his back yard, his shovel suddenly strikes something hard, and big, as it turns out, in more ways than one. What he discovers, preserved in the Cretaceous limestone is more spectacular than anything the town of Melville, Kansas, has ever seen beforesomething that should perhaps be left to the experts, or should it? As the determined eleven-year-old continues to dig, outlines of an ancient creature emerge, but what is it? And more importantly to some, whose is it?
Richard W. Jennings has published more than fifty essays, articles, and short stories, including The Tragic Tale of the Dog Who Killed Himself, published by Bantam Books in 1980 to widespread critical acclaim, in addition to his recent titles published with Houghton Mifflin -- Orwell's Luck, The Great Whale of Kansas, My Life of Crime, and Scribble. He is cofounder of a popular Kansas City-area bookstore and former editor of KANSAS CITY MAGAZINE. He has five children, four grandchildren, a dog, a cat, and a parrot and lives in Kansas.
"A quirky wonder about truth, perseverance, and the vagaries of fame. In Melville, Kansas, located at the geographic center of the country, an unnamed 11-year-old-boy discovers a fossil unlike any ever excavated before. . . .Jennings draws a delightful portrait of this remarkably determined and self-contained child." Kirkus Reviews with Pointers
"Odd yet engaging. . .it’s hard not to be impressed by the ambitious plot and the quality of Jennings’ writing." Booklist, ALA, Boxed Review