April 16, 2015

The Long, Long Journey by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Mia Posada

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 1:46 am by suebe2

GodwitThe Long, Long Journey:
The Godwit’s Amazing Migration
by Sandra Markle
illustrated by Mia Posada

In June, the tiny long-legged chick hatches out in Alaska.  Who could believe, looking at this wee bit of fluff, that by October she will be ready to migrate to New Zealand.  But that’s exactly what these birds do.  While we in the US look for robins as the first sign of spring, the people in New Zealand look for the godwits to arrive from Alaska.

When they hatch, they stay close to the nest, pecking up spiders, crane fly larvae and more.  Any tiny insect can become a godwit snack. Peck! Gulp!

Godwit chicks blend with the tawny grasses, an excellent disguise as fox will gobble them up.  But the chicks don’t rely entirely on their coloration, mom and dad and other adults swoop and dive until the fox runs away.

For a month the chicks eat and grow and hop, exercising their wings.  When they are big enough to follow their fathers down the coast their diet changes to tunneling worms and tiny clams.  They are still eating as much as they can because they’re going to need plenty of fat to fuel their flight.

First the adult godwit leave.  Finally the young birds take off. They’ve never made the journey before but somehow they know where to go.  For eight days the birds flap and flap until they spy brown and green. Then they land on the beaches of New Zealand and immediately go to sleep.  In only eight days, they have flown over 7,000 miles.

I love books like this that go into detail about the life of a particular animal.  I didn’t know anything about godwits, or even the word, when I picked the book up but I loved the collage illustrating the cover.

Mia Posada’s cut and torn paper collage gives depth and texture to this amazing story.  When the godwit fly through clouds, the images are soft.  When they are hunted by fox, the sharp colors reflect the danger.

Backmatter gives a few more facts about the godwit and also shares the author’s inspiration for writing this story.  It is one you will want to share with the budding scientist or nature lover in your life.



1 Comment »

  1. […] Markel’s The Long, Long Journey (Millbrook 2013).  This is about the godwit. The what?  Yep, study this one for how to write […]

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