Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

The Lost Whale by Hannah Gold & illustrated by Levi Pinfold

A heart made from nature… The best kind.

The Lost Whale is a beautifully crafted story of hope and healing. The empowering symbolism of the beach, the sea and the whale is woven throughout bringing comfort and renewal to a troubled soul.

Rio’s mother is ill. He’s done what he can to care for her but it has all become too much. She must go to a clinic where others can look after her and help to make her well again. This leaves Rio alone. Sent from London to California, he faces a totally different world with his grandmother. Despite being able to stand in his mother’s worn footprints in her old bedroom overlooking the sea, he feels so far away from her and everything he knows.

As the story unfolds, Rio discovers more and more about his mother’s past – a time when she was happy and free. This contentment seems to be linked to a huge grey whale called White Beak. Maybe this is the answer he’s looking for to help his mother remember what it is to feel happy.

Rio meets Marina and her father, Birch. They run a whale-watching business on their boat. One trip with them is all it takes for Rio to realise the power of the sea – and a power in himself – connecting him to the gentle giants who live beneath the waves.

Rio learns that these amazing creatures are in danger. Hunting, pollution and rising water temperatures put them at risk. As he gets to know Marina, Birch and the whales, Rio realises that this is his chance to be a part of something bigger than himself – to really make a difference and find out where he truly belongs. As he learns to listen with his heart, a life or death decision shows him that not only can he help to save the whales, but they can help to save him.

Just as meaningful as The Last Bear, this is a story that will be treasured. I love the tiny hints of bear dotted across the pages – but instead of the roar of a polar bear, it’s the roar of the ocean that holds so much power!

Thank you to Tina Mories & Harper Collins Children’s Books for this stunning book!

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon or

Books by Kate Heap:

Contemporary Children’s Literature: Years 3/4

Nonfiction: Years 5/6

Nonfiction: Years 3/4

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