The Whale Watchers – Dougie Poynter & Amberin Huq

They had all been there to witness the terrible death of the little minke whale in the River Thames last year. Finn and Jesse had watched from the bridge with the rest of the onlookers, everyone laughing and excited at first to witness this beautiful sea creature’s big day out in the city. But then the mood has changed as it slowly dawned on the crowd that the whale was sick, that it wasn’t meant to be there, that it wasn’t going to make it back to the sea. Mum had been called down to help.

The summer holidays are here but an angry Finn isn’t off to sunnier locations; instead he and his little brother Jesse are being taken to cold, rainy Scotland by their marine biologist mum for work. When a girl and her dog take the boys to her secret lookout point, the trio find themselves on an unforgettable adventure where they can make a difference to the world…

I was so excited to hear Owlet Press were about to publish their first novel as their picture books are so unique with diverse voices representing the world. What a captivating, essential read The Whale Watchers is – written by keen conservationist and McFly bassist Dougie Poynter, this is a must-have title for school and home bookshelves. Not only does it tell the beautiful story of children determined to help the world and realising that their small difference for their area is added to all the other differences happening around the world, this book has a clear message and educates the reader. I finished this feeling empowered to support change further and I loved all the facts at the end. It provides clear signposts for what children can do next to help and with new research showing over 70% of children aged 7-11 are worried about the future of the planet (with nearly 60% worried about plastic pollution affecting sea animals), this book is timely and necessary.

Like Hannah Gold’s mesmerising debut The Lost Bear last year, The Whale Watchers is full of hope, relatable characters who you’ll laugh and cry with and a stunning setting which makes you feel like you did the train journey with Finn and his family to get there. Coupled with Amberin Huq’s absolutely beautiful illustrations, it’s got to be one of your summer reading list as it’s unmissable. As it’s aimed at 7+ readers, chapters are just the right length and I loved the change of font size as it keeps you engaged and emphasises the beautiful language. A massive well done to Owlet Press for such a groundbreaking, powerful first novel and congratulations to Dougie for his incredible debut – I’m looking forward to what he writes next!

Suggested reading age: 7+

The Whale Watchers is written by Dougie Poynter and is illustrated by Amberin Huq. It will be published by Owlet Press on 7th July 2022. You can visit the BRITA website for more information and additional resources here.

Published by Tom G

Avid reader. Dad of 2. Husband. Assistant Headteacher.

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