Monday, November 11, 2013

How to Rescue a Whale

The Eye of the Whale: A Rescue Story
By Jennifer O’Connell
32 pages; ages 6 – 8
Tilbury House, 2013

On the morning of December 11, 2005, a fisherman came upon a Humpback whale tangled in crab-trap lines. He was about 18 miles off the coast of San Francisco. “Whale in distress!” he calls over his radio. On shore, Captain Mick picked up the call and contacted the Marine Mammal Center. A volunteer rescue crew rushed to Captain Mick’s boat and they set off to do what they could. 

When the rescue crew got to where the whale was supposed to be, all they could see was ocean and a single sea lion. Then a puff of mist shoots into the air. They realize that the whale is floating, not moving. Lines, wrapped around the whale, cut into her skin and trap her. She can’t even swim to the surface to breathe. 

Undeterred, the crew begin their rescue operation. It's tricky: how does one liberate a 50-foot whale so that she doesn’t take off swimming before the team is finished cutting all the lines? How do they make sure they stay safe? But they do it, and the whale disappears down, deep under the water. 

Where is she? The team can't see her. Then a loud humming vibrates through the water and the whale begins to whirl around the divers. Is she going to attack them? She heads straight towards one, then nudges him gently. After nudging her thanks to divers, she disappears into the ocean. This is a well-told tale of bravery, rescue, and inter-species connections. Here's the trailer for the book:

This week's Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Wrapped in Foil. Bloggers who love children's nonfiction will share the cool books they are reading over at her site. Review copy provided by publisher.


  1. This brought a little tear to my eye. Very nice.

  2. Wonderful review! I'm excited to learn about this book ... my book, ASTRO THE STELLER SEA LION also features an animal rescued by The Marine Mammal Center! I'm off to get it. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. I really like that trailer. The music is beautiful. I think I remember hearing this story on the radio at some time before. The diver guy was talking about that whale coming towards him. An incredible story. Thanks!