Yolen, Jane The Stranded Whale. PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick Press, 2015. Language: G (no swears, no “F’s”); Mature content: G; Violence: G.
The Stranded Whale is a story set in the seaside town of Portland, Maine that is impossible not to dive right into. I was completely immersed from the first page in the intriguing story and hauntingly beautiful illustrations. A little girl and her two brothers come across a large beached whale on the way home from school. They call for help and soon the whole town has gathered to try to save the majestic creature. Everyone does their best to keep the whale wet with salty sea water. All of the men in town push on one side, then the other, trying to roll the whale back out to sea. No one has what is needed to get the animal back to its underwater world. People bring sandwiches and soda pop and take shifts trying to save the whale late into the night. Eventually, it is apparent the whale isn’t going to get back into the water in time. The children head home heartbroken and exhausted. Their mom is disappointed because the dinner she made for them has gone cold.
Even though this story has a sad ending, the words and images in this book will leave the reader with a better understanding of life by the sea and reverence for the inhabitants that reside within its salty depths.
EL (K-3), EL - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: JL