“The moonlight reflected on it’s sleek body as it cut through the water…and in turn each whale blew, a deep whoosh that echoed across the waves, sending up a spray of water that glimmered in the moonbeams.”
– Kerr Thomson, The Sound of Whales
Three children are spending their summer on a wild Scottish island. Fraser is desperate for adventure; Hayley is fed up she’s even there while Dunny spends his days staring out to sea. He hasn’t said a word in years.
But everything changes with the discovery of two bodies on the beach: a whale and a man. Fraser and Hayley see a mystery-adventure to be solved, but Dunny is inconsolable. And in the end, it will take someone who listens to the sea to put it right.
I receive a huge amount of joy from the books that appear in my mailbox each month and this one was no exception! The beautiful cover was enough to get me excited – it’s stunning! As a child I loved a wide range of books with animals as the central theme and so I just knew I was going to like this one! The Sound of Whales by Kerr Thomson – winner of the Times Children’s Fiction Prize 2014 – is a magical and wild adventure!
Fraser Dunbar is a teenage boy living on a remote island off the Scottish coast. Seeking adventure, he hooks up with the local whale researcher Ben McCaig. The novel starts with the two of them on a boat in the middle of a storm at night looking for whales when Fraser thinks he hears someone call for help. Meanwhile, Hayley – a newcomer to the island with her mother – is introduced to Fraser’s family when she finds his younger brother Dunny. A few days later, Hayley and Fraser get caught up in a murder mystery when a dead man’s body washes up on the beach. At the same time, a mysterious man is hiding in the caves along the shore. Who is he, and what connection does he have to the victim and the little Scottish island? And what does Fraser’s younger brother have to do with the unusual whale sightings around the island?
Perhaps the best part of this book is the atmosphere evoked by Thomson. As someone who hasn’t been to Scotland, there were times I felt as though I was walking along the rugged and wild coast of Fraser’s island. A sense of place is imperative to the story as many of the characters view place very differently; the caves along the coast, the old castle ruins and the ocean all play a part. The best part of the story is definitely Dunny, a mildly autistic and mute boy whose connection with the island, the ocean and the whales is utterly captivating. While he is the only character who doesn’t speak, his voice is the clearest of them all. He sees and hears what others don’t and in his own way, he tries to communicate with those around him.
AUTHOR: Kerr Thomson
PUBLISHER: Chicken House (Scholastic Australia)
PUB DATE: 2 April 2015 (UK)
Thank you to Scholastic Australia for sending me a reading copy in exchange for an honest review!