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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 May 2002
This book is about Gracie Jenkins and Daniel Pender who were inseparable friends. They lived on the Scilly Isles off the Cornish coast. There is a small island off Rusy Bay called Samson which is said to be haunted.
We really enjoyed this book because of the way it made you want to read on.It also had a very happy ending.
We recommend this book to all ages exspecally
between 6-12.
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on 3 May 2001
Gracie and Daniel find them self very curious about the birdman and Sampson island, which is supposodly cursed, which Gracies father's best friend found out when he was forced to move after he visited the island and found terrible things were happening to him and his family. Gracie and Daniel visited Rushy Bay to sail there boats because Daniels brother kicked the two children away from the pool they usually sail there boats at, but when they get there, they find that there were the enitials Z.W. writen in seashells within the sand. Then they finally meet the birdman and his parrots and find that his real name was Zackaria Woodcock, and that he wasnt a bad or dangerous man. But he did warn them about Sampson island and that it was cursed. Curiousoty got the best of Gracie and Daniel who left to visit Sampson island. When they got there it was to foggy to see, so they went back home, were Gracie found that her Dad had been killed by the war that happened in 1914, WAS IT THE CURSE!!!???
Mark Wilson Age: 11
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on 29 December 2009
I bought this to read to my son, whose reading level wasn't (I thought) advanced enough for it. We'd seen this done as a play, so I felt he could connect easily with the story. I started reading, but he was so entranced and so eager to know what came next that he'd pick it up when I put it down and read it for himself. At first he had to work hard at it, but by the last chapter he was reading it quite fluently. It did exactly what I'd hoped: interest him in reading something more challenging than the Horrid Henry books, thereby improving his reading skills.

In fact we both enjoyed it so much, despite knowing the basic story beforehand, that we are setting out to get more Morpurgo books. If the others are as engaging as this one we shall have a fine old time reading to each other. Given that getting boys to read can be difficult, I was very pleased with the way in which Why the Whales Came provided a level of interest, excitement and engagement with the story and the text to bring home to my boy the sheer pleasure of reading.

The book has aroused his interest in other ways too: he's now very keen on knowing more about whales in general and narwhals in particular, and wants desperately to visit the Scilly Islands to see Byher and Samson. He's been using the atlas and the encyclopaedia to find out more, without any prompting from his parents.
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on 31 August 1999
This book is set on the Isles of Scilly in the first world war. Its all about two children (Daniel and Gracie),and the birdman, who is meant to be mad and can set curses on you. The children make friends with him and in the end he is forced to tell the secret behind cursed Samson, a nearby empty island... This book is a bit slow moving at first but speeds up quickly. It was made into a successful film in 1989, now it is very successful with me.
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on 2 November 2006
If you like reading adventure and suspense, with added folklore and curses, then this is the ideal read for you. Set in the Isles of Scilly, this book charts the friendship of Gracie and Daniel as they build up a relationship with the mysterious Birdman. Despite warnings to stay far away from him, they start to meet him and commence a friendship. The consequences of this are far reaching and affect all the islanders.

This is a gripping and exciting story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you like this book, then you might like to consider The Horse and his Boy by CS Lewis.
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on 2 August 2006
This is a delightful story and is indicative of the excellent children's books that Michael Morpurgo writes. Set in the Isles of Scilly, children Daniel and Gracie are warned to keep away from the strange old man dubbed 'The Birdman'. Fate plays her hand however, as the children build up a friendship with the Birdman, whose odd ways are explained by deafness. Their friendship is not welcomed by all and the story builds to a climax with superstition, World War I and island desperation all coming in to play.
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on 6 November 2008
Mr Morpurgo is an author with an extraordinary talent. He draws you into this story with interesting words that leave you with different feelings from anger, sadness to joy! Mr Morpurgo weaves an imaginative book that contains friendship, loyalty and trust.

The story is set on the island of Bryher (in the Isles of Scilly) during the First World War. The main characters are Gracie and Daniel who are carefree and able to explore the island around them. However, life on the island is hard for the adults. There is an old man called the Birdman who has disabilities that makes people suspicious of him. The children have been warned not to go near him, but when mysterious messages appear in the sand, their paths are destined to cross.
Why the Whales Came is an imaginative, yet realistic story, full of mystery and friendship.
The first chapter is a bit slow but don't let that put you off - over all it's a FAB book!

We recommend this book for readers age 8+. We are 9 and we love it. We recommend it without question!
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on 13 May 2000
This book starts of slow moving at first but soon the the tension mounts as Daniel and Gracie discover the curse of Samson.They defy their parents by meeting and making friends with the Birdman.Every one thinks the Birdman is mad but he understands nature and helps Gracie and her Mother when Gracie's Father goes to war. After reading this book I felt that this was another great book written by Michael Morpurgo.
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VINE VOICEon 1 August 2013
This is a delightful novel about two children living on the small Scilly Isle of Bryher on the eve of the First World War, who befriend an outcast from the community, known as the Birdman, who hides a secret relating to the evacuation of the nearby island of Samson during his youth. It's a lovely story, which gives a good feel for the ebb and flow of island life, and shows how communities can, at their best, pull together to achieve a common goal, but at their worst seek to scapegoat an outsider. While this is nominally aimed at children, it's a great read for all ages, especially if you have been or will be going to the Scilly Isles.
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on 20 December 2014
Another Christmas present so can only judge by the blurb abd the presentation. Michael Morpurgo is always enjoyed by older children and this looks to be as good as ever. Well packed and arrived in good time.
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