Book Reviews

Book Review: The Lost Whale by Hannah Gold & Levi Pinfold (illustrator)

Publisher: HarperCollins UK, Children’s

Genre: Children’s, Middle Grade

Release Date: 31st March 2022

Format reviewed: ARC Ebook (with thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, Children’s)


What if you could communicate with a whale?

Rio has been sent to live with a grandmother he barely knows in California, while his mum is in hospital back home. Alone and adrift, the only thing that makes him smile is joining his new friend Marina on her dad’s whale watching trips. That is until an incredible encounter with White Beak, a gentle giant of the sea changes everything. But when White Beak goes missing, Rio must set out on a desperate quest to find his whale and somehow save his mum.

Dive into this incredible story about the connection between a boy and a whale and the bond that sets them both free.

Perfect for readers of 8+, beautifully illustrated throughout by Levi Pinfold – winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and illustrator of Harry Potter 20th anniversary edition covers.

The Lost Whale is the enchanting second novel from the author of The Last Bear: the bestselling debut hardback of 2021 and winner of the Waterstones Children’s Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award.

My Review

The Lost Whale by Hannah Gold is an absolutely gorgeous story. Heartfelt and authentic from the off, I fell in love with the characters including the magnificent whales, and felt a renewed passion for the ocean. 

I can’t help thinking if I had read this aged 9 or 10 it would have sparked a desire in me to work as a marine biologist or similar, and certainly to join the cause of the whales. It inspires me to do the latter now anyway! 

It makes you want to go out there and see the magnificence of the ocean with your own eyes, and Hannah Gold captures this so well. The beauty, the sounds, the salt in the air and on your skin and the sensation of utter peace within nature.

It’s a really stunning read with such a lot of complex emotion and reality going on too. After being a carer for his mother most of his life, Rio’s concern and love for her is a constant as he is forced to leave her and go stay with his Grandmother thousands of miles from home. Even as he allows himself to enjoy Ocean Bay it is his mother’s wellbeing that drives him. It is so touching and authentic – all his hopes and fears are beautifully captured and the narrative deals with the reality of mental illness with sensitivity.

This is a well achieved sequel to The Last Bear. Hannah Gold brings us another simple tale that holds so much within it, not least a call to action to look after our planet and understand our power to do so if we work together – one small step at a time.

I highly recommend this to middle grade readers young and old, if you loved The Last Bear, you’re in for a treat!

Thanks for Reading!

Anna xx

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