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Author: Yolen, Jane
The tale of a child's effort to rescue a beached whale evokes a fierce love of wildlife and a universal sense of loss.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: .5 Quiz: 175765
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: K-2
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 2.0 Quiz: 67072
Kirkus Reviews (05/15/15)
School Library Journal (06/01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2015 Gr 1–4—While walking home from school along the Maine coast, Sally and her two brothers see a beached whale. With the tide ebbing, they rush to wet down the animal's tail and fins. After Josh runs to summon help, adult volunteers and Coast Guard members arrive. Efforts to move the whale prove futile. As Sally talks to it, the animal lets out "a huge sigh like the wind off the ocean" and dies. When a Coast Guard man present medals to the children, Sally expresses the irony to herself. "So, the whale died and we were heroes." Yolen masterfully conveys both the urgency of Sally's rush to save the whale and her anger and sorrow at its death. An author's note explains her decision to set the story in 1971, when lack of cell phones would delay the arrival of both helpers and broadcasters. She also discusses possible reasons for beachings, which usually end with the whale's death. Cataldo's paintings employ the grays, steel blues, and browns of a northern coastline. Clothing colors are also muted, and daylight gives way to evening, adding to the low-key and pensive mood. VERDICT This poignant story reminds readers that despite human efforts, not all living beings can be saved and honestly portrays the frustration and sadness that can result. A thought-provoking choice.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University Library, Mankato - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.