The Stranded Whale

The Stranded Whale

Reviewed by: Sally Holt - Raymond Village Library, Raymond, Southern Maine Library District

Review Date: October 10, 2015


Jane Yolen's tale of children's attempts to save a beached whale is sad, desperate and poignant.

A whale stranded on a beach in Maine is spotted by Sally and her brothers on their way home from school. They rush to help the whale stay wet as the tide is going out. The Coast Guard is called to assist and since the book is set in 1971 before cell phones additional help is not available and so the whale dies.

At last, though, just at the sun was setting, the whale shut its great eye. It gave out a huge sigh like wind off the ocean. The sigh smelled like seaweed, like lobsters in Dad's traps, like gutted fish on the pier. And then it was gone, just like that.

Sally and her brothers are awarded a medal for their efforts. This story conveys the importance of the understanding that even with one's best efforts things may not always work out as hoped.

The illustrations are muted and match the tone of the story and were done in digital paint, oil paint, and pencil.

A section at the back of the book discusses possible reasons why whales get beached on ocean shores.

May lead young readers to an interest in marine life or professions where people are in service to helping man and animal.

Best suited for 3rd grade and up.

Overall Book Score: excellent

About the Book


Yolen, Jane

Illustrator: Cataldo, Melanie

Illustration Quality: excellent

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Book Type: picture book fiction

Genre: realistic fiction

Audience: grades k-3,grades 4-6

Binding Type: trade edition

Binding Quality: excellent

ISBN: 9780763669539

Price: 15.99