Book Details

An educational tale of love, grief, and resilience.

On a radiant summer day in 2018, an orca named Tahlequah gave birth to a female calf off the coast of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. The calf was emaciated, lacking enough blubber to stay afloat, and she only lived for 30 minutes. Tahlequah placed the baby on her head, and with the members of her pod, she swam for 17 days, covering 1,000 miles before releasing her into the sea.

Whale of Wonder is the dramatized story of this true-life odyssey, told through a dialogue between the mother orca and her curious son, who keeps asking, “Why, Mama?” Young readers will discover how Tahlequah expresses her maternal love, her grief, and slowly overcomes her loss to celebrate life again. This unique story opens a window to the majestic orcas and their complex emotional lives.

The Afterword presents information about orcas in general and the specific culture of the Southern Residents. It unveils Tahlequah’s life with the members of her pod in the Salish Sea, emphasizing the plight these orcas—close to extinction—are facing.

Editorial Reviews

“Moving and inspirational, this is a great volume for young nature lovers and activists.” —The Children's Book Review

“In all, Whale of Wonder is a moving and memorable children's book.” —Blueink Review

“A whale shares her grief with her child in this exquisitely illustrated, high-concept picture book.” –-Kirkus Reviews

“I can only describe this book in two words: simple and beautiful. The presentation of the book’s plot is so simple yet so meaningful.” –– Emeraldlaurice012, Online Book Club Review


Book Excerpt

"Well, all creatures who have lost a dear one share in their hearts a secret and loving bond that slowly...very slowly... pulls them back to life and stays with them forever."


About the Author

Marie-Paule Mahoney

Marie-Paule Mahoney was born and grew up in Brittany, France, and now lives in the foothills of New York State. Before retirement, she taught French in a Waldorf School for over 20 years, as well as at the State University of New York. Her professional career includes the publication of The French Connection and as a co-author of En Français. In the last few years, she has taken a greater interest in nature, wildlife, and conservation. She co-authored Molly and Babou, and wrote Coco. Tahlequah’s heroic journey inspired her to write Whale of Wonder.

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Also by Marie-Paule Mahoney

Orcas Forever


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