Cover Image: Calling the Whales

Calling the Whales

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Member Reviews

This short but action-packed middle grade novella packs a powerful message about the climate crisis.

Tulsi and her best friend Satchen discover a whale trapped in a fishing net and are determined not to leave it to fate. They row out on a choppy Scottish sea and brave the cold waters, taking it in turns to dive below and cut the ropes that bind the whale.

The narration is engaging and the tension builds just enough to thrill young readers.

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Brilliant writing, in true and fabulous Barrington Stoke fashion. Accessible yet top notch writing with a storyline to keep even reluctant readers engaged and invested in the story.

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This was absolutely captivating! Such a joy to listen to- with the Scottish reader bringing about a feel of authenticity and richness to this story of braveness. Both the main characters were an exemplary showcase of resilience and determination. A short, spellbinding story which weaves through the importance of preserving ocean life through reducing unnecessary waste (predominantly plastic)- Superb.

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This was a really enjoyable story about two friends who save a whale. A lot was packed into it and I was hooked throughout. However, it was very short. I listened to it in around 40 minutes. I really wish it had been longer. I will look out for more by this author as I had never heard of them before. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers.

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What a beautifully written, adventure of a book!
Best friends, Tulsi and Satchen, discover a humpback whale that needs help. They decide they are capable of handling this rescue, and work together to try to free it. While this creates a great story, the mom/teacher in me cringes with worry that this story might encourage some dangerous choices, but the underlying message is an important one.

Thank you NetGalley and Bolinda Audio for allowing me early access to the ARC audiobook edition of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Thank you Bolinda Audio for allowing me to read and review Calling the Whales on NetGalley.

Narrator: Paula Masterton

Published: 03/01/24

Stars: 5

Perfection. This is a beautifully written and performed tale. Two kids find a whale in trouble wrapped in a fishing net. The children go about freeing the whale.

Bilan writes kids who I found to be realistic in their behavior and choices. The kids live in a region where they boat, watch the skies, and understand environmental issues. They both have been taught by parents respect.

I cannot imagine anyone but Masterson narrating. She was phenomenal.

I wholly recommend this.

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What a great story this was - and not too long at all, so perfect for reluctant readers or anyone who is still developing their reading fluency. As a Barrington Stokes title (in print) it is dyslexia- friendly.

Gentle story about two friends and their bravery and resilience to save a whale caught in debris in the sea. It is the perfect book to use in lessons linked to climate issues and how we need to live in a more environmentally aware state at all times. Despite the storm and adventure it is a gentle tale which children will warm to and enjoy either as part of a curriculum unit or when reading for pleasure.

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I thoroughly enjoyed Bilan's previous books and this latest is no exception. It's fantastic to see the ever increasing range of Barrington Stoke books making it easier for children who struggle with words on a page to find a love of reading and stories. An audiobook edition can only enhance this accessibility - I often recommend combining audio and physical books to students.

Paula Masterson's beautiful narration truly enhances this touching tale of friendship and the importance of caring for the environment. A real treat.

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This sweet, short story packed in plenty of excitement for younger listeners along with a powerful environmental message.

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A touching story about two children who save a whale, put their lives in danger and are miraculously saved themselves. The animal had gotten caught in a drifting fishing net and was in danger of losing its life. They try to use the attention that both children receive after their adventure to appeal for marine protection. An exciting story that calls for more care towards the environment, both children and adults. The speaker manages to breathe life into the experiences of the children and their new friend and makes listening really easy. Overall a great production.

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Calling the Whales tells a story in less than a hundred pages. It’s a quick read that talks about friendship, but more so focuses on nature and the impact we have on it.

Tulsi and Satchen are close. It’s easy to tell how much they care about one another. They are able to tease each other and know what’s going on in the other's life to check in. Their friendship is one that’s lovely to see and cheer for.

Putting themselves in danger, they do their best to save a whale. From here, we see them talk about numerous things. Reaching out to adults for help, making sure to keep their own safety in mind while also talking about how they wanted to do better for the environment.

The extra chapters at the end about humpback whales and why the author chose to write the book were interesting.

By listening to the audio, I am sad that I missed out on the illustrations, but the audio was beautifully done. Difference voices and expressions were used to show the intensity of the story. The accent is not American, so go into that prepared in case that might be a challenge for you.

Overall, this is a short story that has a point it would like to make and does just that.

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A lovely children's book about 2 young people being saved by a whale with information about Whales and how to show support given at the end.

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I really liked this book overall and loved that the story sucked me right in. It was such a unique premise and I LOVED the narrator’s accent. I honestly wished it would have been longer because I left the story wanting more.

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I listened to the audio version of this book (Bolinda). At 55 minutes, it is a short listen, but, there’s great story-telling, characters you care about and lessons to be learned. I enjoyed the narration- Paula Masterston’s gentle reading was perfectly suited to the title.

Tulsi and Satchen discover a whale that has strayed off course and become caught up in a fishing net. Their heroic efforts to save the whale almost cost them their lives. The danger they put themselves in shows the deep connection they feel to the creature and the horror they find in its suffering.

In this tale we are made to consider the damage humans are inflicting on our oceans; specifically, the terrible effects of our fishing practices and our waste on marine life. The climax of the story is joyous and made me deeply hope we can restore some of the harmony of our relationship with nature.

After their experience, the children are left with clear goals and the motivation to do something to get us to clean up our act. I liked this positive note to end on and that the story was followed up by an informative segment about humpback whales and the steps we can all take to help protect our oceans.

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I loved this audiobook! Calling the Whales is wonderful book for the younger generation of conservationists. The story is told from the children's viewpoint and easy to follow for young readers. Adventure, hope, friendship, family, and the undeniable love for saving whales.

Paula Masterton did a great job with the narration both as a storyteller and showing the emotions of the characters through her voice inflections. I also enjoyed that this book takes place in Scottish town, where whales are frequently seen, which adds another element of reality to the story. A serious issue of ocean conservation told in a way that children can feel they can make a change. Once small act really can make a difference.

Thank you NetGalley and Bolinda Audio for providing me with an ARC of this audiobook in exchange for my honest review. Also, thank you Jasbinder Bilan for giving us hope that the next generation can help save these beautiful animals.

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Lovely high interest, low level option for youth getting into chapter book level reading. Characters are about to enter high school, but story is engaging and digestible. Perfect length for emergent readers who want to experience a captivating book in a short amount of time.

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This is a daring tale of two kids who go against all odds in order to help a whale. I enjoyed the story as did my 8 year old son. I personally feel that the story could have been a bit longer as it would allow for more detail and connection to characters. I commend the author's focus on conservation efforts! We can definitely do better to help protect our planet! The one thing that I really didn't understand is why there were two kids going out to sea in a boat. I find that a bit unlikely and more than a bit unnerving as a parent, but I'm assuming it was the author's way of expressing that little guys can do big things.

I did listen this story on audio, and found the narration to be enjoyable. Someone mentioned they felt the narrator yelling, but I didn't notice anything abnormal like that.

All in all, I would rate this 3.5 stars (rounded up). It is a solid middle grade read that would probably be best for ages 8-12 or so.

🧚🏻Thanks so much to NetGalley, Bolinda Audio, and author, Jasbinder Bilan for providing me with a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

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My 10 year old will love this, I’d say that’s around the perfect age for this book, although I can imagine my children would’ve enjoyed having this read to them when they were as young as nursery age. It’s a lovely story. I loved it and I can imagine it to be perfect for educators, a lovely story with powerful messages of friendship, safety and a sense of caring for nature. The authors note at the end on whales and how we can care for them was excellent.

I only wish I could have seen the illustrations I imagine they’d be stunning.

The narration was perfect.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bolinda Audio for the opportunity to listen to this audiobook in return for an honest review.

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A really lovely audiobook of the Barrington Stoke title. I felt swept along with this story and really engaged and invested in the characters - human and animal!

A great audio recording too, highly recommend.

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Calling the Whales is a very short book. I would recommend it for 3rd and 4th grade readers. The story is about 2 friends, Tulsi and Satchen, who find a whale entrapped in fishing nets off the coast of their island home. These 2 are brave! They take turns diving into the icy water to try and free the whale using only a small knife. Eventually, the cold is just too much and a storm is also rolling in. Heartbroken, they have to pause their rescue mission and return to land before they freeze to death or die in the storm. On their way home, disaster strikes, and the 2 friends are adrift in the ocean - until a miracle arrives and saves them.

This is an adventure story that's a little bit about the effects of climate change and human destruction of nature, and a lot about kindness to animals.

The audio narration was well done and it's short length (just under 1 hour) make it the perfect listen for a short road trip.

Thanks to Bolinda Audio and NetGalley for an advanced listening copy of Calling the Whales.

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