Whaling Days, David Frampton

Whaling Days, written by Carol Carrick, tells the interesting story of American whaling. This book covers the history of whaling, different uses people had for whale, and the difficult, laborious and often dangerous lives of those who lived and worked on the whaling ships.  I  wonder why there aren't more stories about the strong men who were whalers? They should rate high on the adventure scale like cowboys and pirates.It took a brave soul to chase a whale on the open sea, harpoon it and go on a "Nantucket sleigh ride". 

Having done woodcuts myself, I really appreciate David Frampton's skillfull woodcut illustrations in Whaling Days. His design is very consistent throughout the book. The illustrations are strong and detailed. I especially like his depiction of whales, waves and water. He makes the most of a limited color pallette and perhaps because of it, really focuses on the design and craft.

Whaling Days 
By Carol Carrick
Woodcuts by David Frampton 
Clarion Books, 1993

Whaling Days makes me want to read Moby Dick. Any have suggestions for an illustrated edition?

Some interesting facts about David Frampton: he has been an author and illustrator of children's books and young adult books for over thirty years. Frampton studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design. Among the books he has illustrated are: Guide to the Imaginary Birds of the World, Riding the Tiger, Bull Run, At Jerusalem's Gate, The Song of Francis and the Animals. He is the author/illustrator of The Whole Night Through and Mr. Ferlinghetti's Poem. Some of his honored works include The Whole Night Through, My Son John written by Jim Aylesworth, and Rhyolite written by Diane Siebert. 


  1. Hi Jil! Thanks for this review of (partly) David Frampton. I love his work! I first ran across back in the 1970's: he illustrated an album cover for the British rock group Jethro Tull ("Stand Up"). A beautiful rooster of his is also featured on the cover of "The Complete Manual of Relief Printmaking" by Katie Clemson & Rosemary Simmons. Nice blog you have here.

  2. Rob, thanks for your comments. I'm going to have to see if I can find that album cover. I have the Complete Manual of Relief Printmaking and forgot about that - thanks for bringing it to my attention. Another woodcut artist you might like that has done children's books is Christopher Manson.

  3. I saw his illustrations in a reader's digest copy of Silas Marner. Really like the way he limits his colors.

  4. Yes, I agree and it takes a good artist to make a limited color scheme look

  5. You mentioned looking for an illustrated edition of Moby Dick: I highly recommend the University of California press edition with illustrations by barry Moser.