Tom Hassler & The Whale Killers, by Doug Wilson

Tom isn’t your usual twelve year old boy. He can fly, and talk to sea creatures, and when he discovers that whales are being slaughtered in the Great Southern Ocean he knows that he has to help. With the help of his grandmother and other sea creatures, Tom ventures to the Antarctic to defend the whales.

Tom Hassler & The Whale Killers is a fast-paced adventure that is part of a series of books by Doug Wilson. Tom is a fun character, and he takes charge of the action and the reader is quickly enveloped in his exciting world. Children aged 10-12, particularly boys, will enjoy the tale.

As a parent I wasn’t sure what to make of the language in the book. The cover states that this book is not for scaredy kids, but the language is more disturbing than gory (“His dorsal fin was also horribly gashed, part of it sagging and almost lifeless…”My mother’s dead, already cut up.””). Of course the subject matter (whaling) was never going to make for a cotton candy happy story, but when juxtaposed with the book’s undertones of humour in the language (“He sniffed, in a sad, whaley sort of way.”) I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to laugh or feel sorry for the whale in question.

I’m not personally one to censor everything for kids, but given the nature of the content, and the language style, Tom Hassler & The Whale Killers if it is something that concerns you as a parent, I’d say this book is better suited to the upper of the 10-12 age range it is aimed at.

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JJ is a writer by night, & a Product Manager by day. She loves young adult and children’s fiction and is the co-founder of NZ Booklovers. She has a Masters in Creative Writing, and is an ex-English tutor. She lives in Auckland with her husband, daughter, and two chihuahuas.

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