Book: Stranded

Author: Ann Coleridge

Illustrator: Eric David

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, republished in 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0385298254 (Hardcover)

ISBN-10: 0385298250 (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 978-0440840800 (Paperback)

ISBN-10: 0440840805 (Paperback)

Language level: 2

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Reading level: Ages 9 and up

Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Any books donated for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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     Coleridge, AnnStranded (published in 1987 by Angus and Robertson Publishers, Australia; republished in 1989 by Delacorte Press, a division of the Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc., 666 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY  10103).  Tony is a young man who lives with his parents in a small town on the coast of Australia.  He likes to get up early in the morning and go beachcombing to find shells.  One day, he finds something else—a beached false killer whale.  As the townspeople are coming to try to do something to return it to the sea, eighteen other whales beach themselves nearby.  There are several theories as to why whales beach themselves, but nobody knows for sure. 

     All of these whales are doomed to die in this mass stranding unless they can be led or put back into the water.  So Tony, who has become attached to the whale which he found and has designated “Number One,” joins a huge and somewhat dangerous rescue operation that is begun by government authorities and local citizens to roll the stranded whales back into the sea in a race against time.  Will the mission be successful?  Will any of the whales survive?  Or will they all end up dying?  And what will happen to “Number One”?  I noticed this book on the junior fiction shelf of our local library and thought that it sounded interesting.  It is indeed a well-written, easy-to-read story that will capture and hold one’s attention, especially animal lovers.

     Author Ann Coleridge was born in England but has lived in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, since 1981 and says that she “hopes her novel will contribute to the awareness of whale strandings and to means of handling them.”  Besides a couple of common euphemisms (darn, heck), the phrase “Oh God!” is used once as an interjection, the water at night is said to be “hellish cold,” and while helping with the rescue operation Tony has to “pee.”  However, in addition to the ecological value of calling attention to the plight of marooned whales, Stranded does a good job of portraying a group of people joining forces and working together to achieve a common objective.

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