K-Gr 3-- This is a treasure of a tall tale! Based on an account from an 1846 book of whaling adventures originally kept as a seaman's journal, it is an adaptation of a story told to a young seaman by John Tabor himself. Tabor was a brash young man on his first whaling voyage who complained about everything, wishing to go home and annoying his shipmates. One moonlit night, an old man appears on deck and takes Tabor into the sea for the ride of his life on the back of a huge whale: down the Mississippi, through the oceans, and back to the ship. Happy to be back, John, it is said, became the ``most jolly whaler in the fleet,'' and was known for entertaining his crewmates, but was also known to stare out at the ocean at night as if ``something fearful were out there waiting.'' Zimmer's robust illustrations are the perfect complement with their deep auburns, greens, and blues. Done in watercolor but detailed with ink cross-hatching, they evoke old ivory carvings and woodcuts, but the characters are humorous enough to carry across the tall-tale feeling of the story. This is a welcome addition to the tall-tale collection and will be most effective read aloud. Children are certain to enjoy wondering if perhaps John Tabor was telling the truth after all. --Joanna G. Jones, formerly at Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, N.J.