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Book Review : “Why The Whales Came”

   Shuvee Lamichhane - May 08 2023

Last year, I got the chance to read the book ‘Why the Whales Came’. The book was given to me by my teacher for our monthly reading book for the English language category for the month of Mangsir. The book was written by Michael Morpurgo and it is about friendship, courage, and the importance of facing fear. It has a good length, and I found it very easy to understand.

1914, Bryher, a small island off the west coast of England. Its a remote Island during the World War I

Gracie Jenkins and Daniel Pender (protagonists), Zachariah Woodcock (Birdman), Peter Jenkins (Gracie’s father), Clemmie Jenkins (Gracie’s Mother), Treve Pender (Daniel’s Father), Mary Pender (Daniel’s Mother), Mr. Wellbeloved (Teacher), Big Tim Pender (Daniel’s brother), The Preventative (they are a group of people that want to take driftwood from the island)

This book tells the story of two young children, Garice and Daniel. The story starts with the two young children trying to find a place to sell their boats. The two children finally find Rushy Bay. They had been warned all their lives to stay away from Rushy Bay, as they had been told that the Birdman lived there. At first, they found the letters Z.W. Slowly, they started becoming friends with the Birdman. We also got to know that Gracie hated going to school. But one day, Gracie and Daniel’s teacher, Mr. Wellbeloved, or, as they liked to call him, Mr. Welley Belly, tells them about a war. Soon they came face-to-face with the Birdman himself. The Birdman introduced the two children to all of his animals. The Birdman’s dog seemed to like Gracie, even though it was clear the goat did not. The birdman gave two carvings of cormorants to the two children and also told them about the timber that washed up on shore. Gracie kept the carvings in the attic and told her parents about the timber. The islanders believed that whatever washed up on shore belonged to all of them, so everyone took the timber and hid it. When the preventer came to check, it found the two cormorants. Gracie said they were a Christmas gift that Daniel made. Her parents did not believe her at first, but they soon did. One day after they came back from Rushy Bay, they found out that the war had started, and her father also soon went off to war. Leaving Gracie and her mother alone. But the Birdman would leave different foods at their doorstep. After her mother got ill, Gracie went to fish herself, getting lost in the process on the other side. Daniel’s brother, Big Tim, planned to go to the Birdman’s house, thinking he was a German spy. Soon, Gracie and Daniel returned. One day they found the Birdman pushing a whale of sorts with a horn into the water when Big Tim and everyone else on the island came to murder the poor thing. Gracie’s mother told them to listen to the Birdman first, and the Birdman told them all about Samson and his curse, and everyone on the island helped the creature get back to sea. Gracie and her mother also got the news a few days ago that they had lost Gracie's father, but at the end of the book, Gracie's father returns, and the book ends.

Critical Analysis
It is a children's book about two boys who befriend a strange man named Birdman. It teaches readers the importance of respecting nature. The characters in the book are well drawn and the stories are interesting. However, some readers may find the story a bit predictable and the writing style simplistic.Overall, it is a good book for young readers interested in learning about adventures and environments .

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. This book is quite long. It has an engaging plot with a good message. I would rate the book a 9 out of 10. I would also recommend this book to young readers like myself who like adventure stories with a message.

Shuvee Lamichhane
Grade VI
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Genre: Historical Adventure
Length: 178 pages
Language: English

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