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Humphrey the Lost Whale

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  150 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
The true story of Wrong Way Humphrey
Paperback, 32 pages
Published December 1st 1992 by Heian (first published 1986)
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Aug 26, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
We got this for our 3 yr old's birthday party this summer and what an awesome book! All my kids love it, my preschoolers and my 5 yr old alike! A story about a lost whale named Humphrey who got stuck in the San Francisco Bay back in 1985, an event I hadn't heard anything about. (I had been ten yrs old at the time) It talks about his migration patterns, how they recognized him year after year, and how the people banded together to get him out of his predicament. At the very end, it has even more ...more
Lisa Vegan
Jan 09, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
Useful book for our local children at the time because they knew about the true news story about Humphrey the Whale, a creature that inspired my and others' great concern.
Daniel Cortez
Feb 15, 2015 Daniel Cortez rated it it was amazing
“Humphrey the Lost Whale” by Wendy Tokunda is a heart-warming story about a humpback whale who became lost and stuck in the Sacramento River and how a group of scientists worked together to help Humphrey find his way. Humphrey went from the ocean into the San Francisco Bay, and then continued up the Sacramento River. After passing through a very tight space under a bridge, he became stuck upstream. Luckily, people were there to help him. They banged pipes underwater to scare him into turning ar ...more
Apr 29, 2015 Whitney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
I have a bit of a soft spot for this book, as my parents bought me a copy of the original printing after the Reading Rainbow episode aired. Pretty sure I read it until the binding fell apart. Nostalgia is a powerful force.

Review written for and published by Portland Book Review on April 29th:

Humphrey the Lost Whale is a classic children’s book, that is both educational and fun – it also featured in an original episode of Reading Rainbow. A reprinting of the original 1992 publication and based on
This book was a "book du jour" when I first began teaching. I don't hear about it any longer.

It tells the true story of a humpback whale that swam under the Golden Gate Bridge and then up the Sacramento River. The river is fresh water. Humphrey got himself stuck in shallow water past a small and narrow bridge. It took a lot of help to get Humphrey turned around and back underneath the tiny bridge before he swam back out to sea.

A cute little real-life story with a happy ending.
Lindsey Feldpausch
Oct 13, 2012 Lindsey Feldpausch rated it it was amazing
Excellent! I love the true stories! This offers many different points to teach, a few of which are; the difference between fresh water and salt water, migration, humans interacting with animals and keeping hope despite challenging circumstances. We enjoyed looking up news clips on youtube of when these events took place in California's bay area! Which is another teaching point; what defines a bay, river and ocean!
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
A real account of a Whale who got lost in Sacramento River and the community came together to help him find his way back to the sea.

My son and I watched this book on a Reading Rainbow DVD, however, we still got to see the beautiful illustrations of the book and it was evident the text had a natural flow for reading aloud.
A cute true story about a humpback whale named Humphrey who travels from San Francisco Bay deep into the freshwater rivers north of the city and gets trapped there; he is rescued and helped along by people who have gathered at the river's sides, and pushed back towards the ocean.
This book was interesting. When reading it I could see so many project ideas coming into play. It is a great awareness book to help prepare for the worst case scenario. I had never heard of this story so it was fascinating to learn about a whale in San Francisco.
Angela Barakat
I read this with both my children.
Brendan Howard
Jun 01, 2013 Brendan Howard rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-to-zahara
Compelling in a way most real-life children's books fall flat.
Jul 06, 2009 Alicia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, science
I especially like that this is a true story about a whale and about people coming together to help this animal.
Feb 18, 2009 Raji rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story!! We picked up this book in a lovely, small independent bookstore in Sausalito, right where this story took place.
Kim Hampton
Jun 18, 2015 Kim Hampton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember hearing the story about Humphrey on the news when I was younger, and I absolutely loved this book! My daughter did too, she wanted to hear it again!
Aug 12, 2013 Sharon added it
Shelves: books-i-own, dan, tom
Another new one selected by Tommy. The boys had a lot of questions about Humphrey's adventures.
Reading Rainbow: Humphrey the Lost Whale
Mar 02, 2016 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Humphrey is a great children's book. Informative and easy to understand and could spark dialogue about sea life, travel, jobs, friendship, and community. One I'll definitely enjoy reading to my kids.
Sarah rated it liked it
Nov 04, 2013
Kristina rated it it was amazing
Dec 07, 2015
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Sep 21, 2015
Kendra rated it it was amazing
May 02, 2016
Kelli rated it liked it
Nov 22, 2010
Deanne rated it did not like it
Apr 20, 2016
J.N. rated it liked it
Jun 07, 2012
Vonze (Yvonne)
Vonze (Yvonne) rated it it was amazing
Mar 12, 2010
matthew m. wolfe
matthew m. wolfe rated it it was amazing
May 26, 2016
Martha rated it it was amazing
Feb 09, 2017
Jeidai rated it really liked it
Jun 27, 2008
Stacy Parker-Fisher
Stacy Parker-Fisher rated it it was amazing
Sep 01, 2015
Sara rated it really liked it
May 01, 2014
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