Kid’s Book Review: Calling the Whales

Kid’s Book Review: Calling the Whales

About the Book and Author

From dyslexia friendly publisher Barrington Stoke is an exciting adventure about a friendship and the plight of whales.

After rowing out to an island near their seaside home, Tulsi and Satchen discover a whale that has been trapped in a fishing net. Determined to try to free the poor creature, they repeatedly dive down into the freezing sea to cut the netting, but eventually, exhausted and with a storm rolling in, they have to admit defeat.

As they head for home to seek help, their boat capsizes in the storm and they’re left clinging to it, dangerously adrift. Just as they think all is lost, help arrives from an unexpected source …

Calling the Whales
Jasbinder Bilan

Jasbinder Bilan was born on a farm in the foothills of the Himalayas. When Jasbinder was one and a half her family moved to Nottingham, England where she grew up. In Jasbinder’s writing she creates magical and real worlds and tells gripping adventures inspired by her love of family and home, and of cities and wild places across the UK and India.

Her debut children’s novel Asha And The Spirit Bird won the Times/Chicken House Prize, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, longlisted for the Jhalak Prize, shortlisted for the Waterstones Book Prize and won the Costa Children’s Book Award. Her second novel Tamarind And The Star Of Ishta was longlisted for the Blue Peter Book Prize and won the Indie Children’s Book Award. India, Incredible India was shortlisted in the Younger Non-Fiction category of the inaugural The Week Junior Book Awards.

Skylar White is an illustrator living in New York City


Book Review

It is a wonderful book filled to the brim with excitement, courage, hope and trust

Tulsi and Satchel are best friends who will go to high school after the summer holidays. After the last day of middle school, they decide to race up a local hill that they have loved to climb since they could walk and it is the perfect vantage point for their wondrous city. It is emerald-green with flecks of aquamarine and moonlight shines in iridescent pools on its grassy surface. Tulsi is as fast as a bullet and her ambition is to become a sky runner.

Once they reach the top of the hill, Tulsi notices the charcoal sea writhing like a monster under the full moon. She is eager to investigate, but annoyingly, Satchel needs to get home before his mum finds an empty bed and get anxious. Just after Satchel goes home, Tulsi decides to go and investigate but is met with the disappointment of nothing but a funny feeling in her stomach.

The next day, Tulsi decides to meet Satchel by the beach and they row out to the island where an eery wailing sound was emanating from. They are shocked to see a gargantuan whale with wrinkly sapphire skin, trapped in shallow waters. On closer inspection, they realise that its fin is entangled with wiry netting. They decide to take turns diving down and sawing the netting with a disagreeable pen-knife. Suddenly, to their horror, a catastrophic storm emerges and swirls around them like a raging tornado. Their boat violently upturns, leaving them clinging on to its polished wood, digging their nails in the cracks with no way to turn it back. How will they save themselves now?

This book pulled me into their little seaside town, with emerald green sea, sandy calm islands and homely cottages. It is a wonderful book filled to the brim with excitement, courage, hope and trust. Perfect for fans of adventure stories, this fast-paced book kept me on tenterhooks till the last page. I thought the illustrations were fantastic, they looked so realistic that I felt that they could just pop out of the page. I thought that the image on page 57 was very beautiful and felt like it was happening in front of me. It was my favourite. (see below)

I thought Satchel was a bit irritating and letting Tulsi down, always belly-aching, running away from doing things himself and saying that they should get an adult to help. Tulsi loves running and is a rule breaker, and despite Satchel is a little bit of a pessimist, I loved every single character and how realistic and engaging they are. I thought they were really brave to approach the whale on their own when most adults would probably run for their lives.

Page Preview

If you would would like to buy a copy of the book we invite you to order it from your local independent book shop.

Or, you can shop on-line and support our Kids Reviews page by sourcing your discounted book via this link

Please Buy Here

Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!


Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Radhika
  • Age: 8 years
  • Likes: Acting, guitar, maths, daydreaming and gymnastics
  • Dislikes: eating, running and loud noises
  • Favourite Book: Pages & Co by Anna James
  • Favourite Song: I don't like you by Taylor Swift
  • Favourite Film: Descendants