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The Children’s Book Review
A Whale of the Wild
Written by Rosanne Parry
Illustrated by Lindsay Moore
Age Range: 8-12
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (September 1, 2020)
What to expect: Orca Whales, Wildlife and Watershed Restoration, Family, and Perseverance.
A Whale of the Wild is New York Times–bestselling author Rosanne Parry’s stand-alone companion to A Wolf Called Wander. Fans of unforgettable animal adventure novels such as The One and Only Ivan and Charlotte’s Web will be swept up in this illustrated tale that explores the pull of family, togetherness, finding one’s way, and the effects of global warming.
Set in the Salish Sea, a pod of orca whales is searching for salmon—their source of sustenance—but with the changing seascape, salmon are becoming increasingly harder to find. When the pod experiences a family loss, followed by a devastating earthquake and tsunami, Vega and her brother Deneb find themselves separated from their kin. If they are to reunite with their family, Vega must assume her role as a Wayfinder to lead her brother to safety. She will need to lean into the accumulated wisdom the elders have been sharing with her if she and Deneb are to survive the ocean’s deep blue wilderness.
Rosanne Parry tells the story through the alternating voices of both Vega and Deneb to significant effect. In doing so, she allows readers to experience the importance of each family member’s role and the support they offer to one another. Deneb’s uplifting spirit and confidence in his sister contrasts beautifully with Vega’s struggle to believe in herself as a Wayfinder. The perils of hunger, shark attacks, and human-made pollution are stark and real with vivid depictions that are well-researched and demonstrate the delicate balance of the circle of life. Parry’s stunning writing is brought to life further by Lindsay Moore’s striking black-and-white artwork. Extensive back-matter is included in the end pages with a map and plenty of facts about orcas and salmon.
A Whale of the Wild is a poignant animal adventure that demonstrates the importance of coming together in a crisis. Readers will readily journey with the two siblings as they find their place among their kin and persevere through loss and devastation. The environmental elements of wildlife and watershed restoration are impactful and are bound to inspire young people to take care of the world’s oceans.
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About the Author
Rosanne Parry is the author of the novels Heart of a Shepherd and Last of the Name, among other acclaimed titles. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in Portland, Oregon, and writes in a treehouse in her backyard. www.rosanneparry.com
About the Illustrator
Lindsay Moore is an artist and writer with roots in Northern Michigan. She studied marine biology and fine art at Southampton College on Long Island and figure drawing at the Art Students League of New York, and earned her master of science in medical and scientific illustration from Medical College of Georgia, now Augusta University. Lindsay Moore lives with her family in Bowling Green, Ohio.
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