The Stranded Whale


24727084The Stranded Whale written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Melanie Cataldo (2015)

Sally and her brothers Martin and Josh find a beached whale on their way home from school one day. They try to keep it wet by soaking their sweaters in the cold ocean while Josh runs ahead to call the coast guard. More people arrive with food and buckets, but eventually the whale dies. Sally and her brothers get medals with a picture of a whale on one side and a picture of waves on the other. But Sally is mad… mad at herself for not being able to save the whale, mad at the people who had picnics at the whale’s side, mad at the ocean which would give up its whale. Sally was so mad she put the medal in a drawer and never looked at it again, she’d give that old medal back in an instant just see the whale heading out into the deep blue sea.


This is not a happy, feel-good story where the kids save the whale. But it is a realistic, emotional story. Sometimes it’s good for kids to hear these kinds of stories, to imagine how they might feel if something terrible happens. Kids need to know it’s okay to feel mad at circumstances beyond your control.

Here are some fun whale crafts for more fortunate whales lovers.

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