Review: A Whale of the Wild

“I leap out of the water. But when I come down, the shark is right in front of me. I jump again, looking for an escape.”

Rosanne Parry

A Whale of the Wild by Rosanne Parry 
321 pages 
Published by Greenwillow, 2020
Genre: Children’s fiction, environmental fiction 
Re-readability: I may come back to this one someday.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Review by: Indiana 


Synopsis from the publisher: 

In the stand-alone companion to the New York Times–bestselling A Wolf Called Wander, a young orca whale must lead her brother on a tumultuous journey to be reunited with their pod. This gorgeously illustrated animal adventure novel explores family bonds, survival, global warming, and a changing seascape. Includes information about orcas and their habitats.

For Vega and her family, salmon is life. And Vega is learning to be a salmon finder, preparing for the day when she will be her family’s matriarch. But then she and her brother Deneb are separated from their pod when a devastating earthquake and tsunami render the seascape unrecognizable. Vega must use every skill she has to lead her brother back to their family. The young orcas face a shark attack, hunger, the deep ocean, and polluted waters on their journey. Will Vega become the leader she’s destined to be?

A Whale of the Wild weaves a heart-stopping tale of survival with impeccable research on a delicate ecosystem and threats to marine life. New York Times-bestselling author Rosanne Parry’s fluid writing and Lindsay Moore’s stunning artwork bring the Salish Sea and its inhabitants to vivid life. An excellent read-aloud and read-alone, this companion to A Wolf Called Wander will captivate fans of The One and Only Ivan and Pax.

Includes black-and-white illustrations throughout, a map, and extensive backmatter about orcas and their habitats.

Review: 

A Whale of the Wild is a harrowing, educational, and beautifully illustrated story, told from the perspective of brother and sister killer whales. 

Author Rosanne Parry puts readers in the minds of these marine creatures, who are under stress from a rapidly declining food supply and ships traveling in the Salish Sea. Readers learn how strongly connected pods or whale families are, and how they have their own languages in a way and share food, even if there’s not much to go around. 

Numerous black and white illustrations from Lindsay Moore were an incredible addition to the story, helping to set the scene and make an otherwise unfamiliar world more familiar. 

The tone was fairly dark, especially when Vega recalls stories about humans killing her ancestors and memories of family members starving to death. Yet, there is a semi-hopeful ending, and an epilogue packed with information about not only the whales but their habitat and a call to action on how readers can help them.

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