Review: Trapped! by Robert Burleigh

Trapped by Robert Burleigh

Trapped!: A Whale’s Rescue by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Wendell Minor (InfoSoup)

A wild whale is jumping, swimming and enjoying lots of krill to eat in the ocean waters. But then she runs into discarded netting from a crab fisherman floating in the water. The net catches her, cutting into her mouth and making swimming difficult. The a boat motor sound comes and along with it a group of humans who are hoping to rescue the huge animal. But it is so dangerous being near an animal of that size where even small motions can cause injuries to the rescuers. Still, they work close to the whale and begin to cut her free. They swim away if necessary and touch her with gentleness and care. Eventually the ropes and netting fall away and the whale is free to swim again. To say thanks, she gently touches each of her human rescuers before jumping for joy.

Burleigh’s text contains lots of information but it is presented through the lens of a story. This is a tale of one very fortunate whale, rescued in time from the netting. It is a story of wild freedom at first and then a desperate struggle and then impossible hope that she will survive after all. This is a real drama played out on the pages, from the danger to the whale to then the danger to her rescuers solely from her size. The final pages of the book offer resources about rescuing trapped whales and talk more about the dangers and about the whales themselves too.

Minor’s art is luscious on the page, taking readers under the water alongside the whale. There we float as the water changes colors and the light changes. Minor makes sure the show the size of the whale and of the humans on the same page, so that children will understand the size of the animal. It is beautifully and touchingly done.

An inspiring tale of the difference that even a small group of people can make in sustainability and saving animals, this picture book is a compelling mix of story and fact. Appropriate for ages 6-8.

Reviewed from copy received from Charlesbridge.