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on 1 March 2006
This really is a delightful book. It’s a very short story – but beautifully presented. Each letter Emily writes is on a little notelet in an envelope stuck to the page addressed to Greenpeace. Greenpeace’s (fictional) replies are printed on alternate pages.
This makes for a really ‘personal’ kind of read with your child. Emily’s letters and envelopes are on sufficiently heavy grade paper that, with a little supervision from me, my three-year-old hasn’t done any damage to them yet.
The illustrations are charming – showing Emily earnestly corresponding with Greenpeace whilst family life goes on around her – Dad rushing out to work, her baby brother emptying his cereal all over the floor or the TV blaring out a gameshow as Emily composes her next letter.
We’ve read it so often that my daughter takes the letters out and pretends to read them out loud, and almost gets the actual content spot on for the point of the story we’re at.
My only complaint: it ends all too quickly.
Emily! Start writing to someone else!
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on 9 November 2002
I cam across this book when I was working in a library and though I was supposed to shelve it, I put it to one side and snuck a peek at it every now and then.
I was very impressed, and immedietly set about getting it. I throughly enjoyed the witty comments and inocence of a girl who discovers a whale in her garden pond, and goes about trying to look after him. Her main source of advice is Greenpeace, though they will insist on telling her she couldn't possibly have a whale in her pond.
The pictures were also wonderful, and the idea of tracking the story of a girl and her whale through letters was highly successful.
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on 14 October 2000
This little book caught my eye initially because of the strange title. From the minute I began to read It I was completely charmed. It is the story (written in letter form) about a little girl who believes she has found a whale in her garden pond. Sensibly so, she writes to Greenpeace to seek their advice on how she should look after it. The humour is derived from the Greenpeace replies, each one more adamant that there is absolutely "NO" possibility of a huge mammal residing there. Of course the beautiful illustrations let us in on the fact that Emily and her whale are enjoying time together! and her dogged calm persistance, when replying to Greenpeace is hilarious. The lovely ending (which I shan't reveal) Left me quite misty eyed! Even though my two year old is a little young for this story, I'm starting to read it to her, as I know that my joy and admiration for this story will rub off on her.
The only thing that dissapointed me a little was that I expected some of the proceeds to go to charity (With the link to greenpeace) It would have made it even more special.
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on 14 October 2005
I remember when I first saw this book and flicked through it just to see what it was like. I found it very amusing, funny, and sometimes even sad.
It's the story of a little girl called Emily who finds a whale in her pond and writes to Greenpeace, as she would like some information on whales. Greenpeace write back telling her that there is no way she could have seen a whale in her pond, because whales only live in the sea, Emily continues to write to Greenpeace telling them how the whale is getting on day by day.
I found this story wonderful and would reccomend it to anyone Between the ages of 1 and 6.
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on 8 August 2013
My three boys love this. They are aged 4, 6 and 8. It's not all 'green' as the title might suggest. It is just a beautiful story with lots to discuss, and hidden meanings and messages. The illustrations are gorgeous and it is actually very educational. I would recommend it.
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on 24 September 2001
A brilliant book for literacy hours. Katie writes to Greenpeace about the whale in the back garden pond- a delightful way of bringing in environmental issues and information texts about endangered species. get your children to write letters to Greenpeace for information to encourage their letter writing, or write a class version of Dear Greenpeace about another endangered species (where it should live, what it eats and why its endangered)
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This is the first Simon James book that I haven't read to my son. Just felt he wasn't old enough yet at three to appreciate it (or understand the concept of Greenpeace).

I will return to it though. It's wonderful. A series of letters back and forth between Emily and Greenpeace about the whale Emily has found in her pond. Is she lying? Mistaken? Imagining? Or telling the truth?

This is perfect for a KS1 class, looking at letters, pond life, stories, the environment, oceans. Wonderful illustrations and a lovely set of letters.
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on 14 December 2012
I bought this book for my class (I teach KS1) it is such a lovely book and cheers me up when i read it to them. There is a lovely story line and the children love it because it sparks their imagination.
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on 28 October 2014
Simon James is an award winning author and illustrator. I saw the reviews and thought I will get this book for my kids. This is a simple story, written in letter format. This illustrations are lovely.
It s about Emily who writes to Greenpeace regarding a whale she saw in her pond. She asks for more information on whales.
Greenpeace responds with the information. Greenpeace tries to emphasise that the whale wouldn't be living in a pond over a course of many letters. I must admit, initially I was wondering how it will end. I like the ending very much. Emily reads the letters from Greenpeace to her whale who she named Arthur. Then one day he disappears. Greenpeace responds saying perhaps when she is older she would like to sail the oceans studying and protecting whales with Greenpeace. The last letter is Emily saying she saw Arthur at the sea side, she told him she loves him and Greenpeace loves him too!
A simple message. So beautifully conveyed. There is no scenario where the child is lying. Or by some magical twist there really was a whale. It is up to the reader to interpret it as he wishes. I love the story. I love the message behind it. I love the idea of protecting our animals being instilled in children.
This is indeed a beautiful book. Simple, but it touches the heart.
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on 13 June 2009
This Simon James book is great to use in the classroom with any age group. An unsuspecting book which raises issues of loneliness,global awareness and wildlife. For those of you sharing this book with a child, ask them to think about why Emily believes there is a whale in her pond; compare her letter structure to that of Greenpeace's and ask them to write letters to/from Greenpeace about a different sea creature. You're bound to get some great writing/thinking skills happening.
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