The cover design of this book echoes a letter with a postmark that says Nantucket, Massachusetts, but its true locale is anywhere a child has ever told an adult: You'll never believe what I saw.
In this particular instance Emily has seen a whale in her backyard pond.
The whale seems to be ill and unhappy, so the diligent little girl writes a series of letters to her teacher, Mr. Blueberry, to consult on its care and feeding. He responds, also diligently, with some basic information about whales and the steadfast assertion that there cannot be a whale in her backyard. Not even if she has named it Arthur and has sustained him by emptying a saltshaker in the pond and feeding him
cornflakes. (So much easier to find in one's kitchen than krill!)
This is a slight book but an endearing one, especially because it works as a back-to-school book without ever mentioning school. Mr. Blueberry is obviously a beloved teacher, despite his refusal to believe in Emily's tail/tale. And for all his naysaying, he's supports Emily's commitment: "Perhaps when you are older you would like to sail the oceans studying and protecting whales."
But the real satisfaction comes when Emily visits the beach. Arthur, who has resumed being migratory again after one of Mr. Blueberry's letters, swims up to Emily and smiles, accepts part of her sandwich and then waves his fluke goodbye.So long, Summer, it's been swell.