The Stranded Whale by Jane Yolen, Melanie Cataldo

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Tender and heartrending, Jane Yolen's clear-eyed tale of a child's effort to rescue a beached whale evokes a fierce love of wildlife and a universal sense of loss.


Sally and her brothers are walking home from school along the dunes in their Maine town when they come upon an enormous whale. He's stranded on the beach. Her brother runs for help, and many people rally to respond, but the tide is going out quickly and the whale is just so big. Still, Sally is able to sit near the whale's massive eye and tell him he's beautiful and strong, and that she will miss him no matter what happens. Master storyteller Jane Yolen and illustrator Melanie Cataldo have created an authentic portrait of vulnerability that is at once spare, moving, and honest.


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.
--School Library Journal

It's an achingly sad story about accepting the limits of one's power, delivered with lyricism and poise. Ages 5-9.
--Publishers Weekly

A moving, memorable addition to the nature collection.
--Kirkus Reviews

Readers unfamiliar with life on the coast will find this tale compelling; those who have grown up near the ocean may empathize with the narrator's anger at the injustice of the whale's death. All will be moved by the powerful story.
--School Library Connection


Jane Yolen is the acclaimed author of more than three hundred books for children and young adults, including the Caldecott Medal-winning Owl Moon and the best-selling How Do Dinosaurs series. She lives in Massachusetts and Scotland.

Melanie Cataldo is an illustrator who studied at Syracuse University and the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. The Stranded Whale is her first book. She lives in Massachusetts.

Target Age: 6-9

Candlewick Press

Pub Date: July 16, 2015

0.63" H x 9.31" L x 10.56" W

32 pages