Migrating south with her sisters, a whimbrel is caught in a hurricane but eventually battles her way to warm winter safety.
This imagined journey is loosely based on the real experience of a whimbrel fitted with a solar-powered transmitter who traveled from the Arctic coast in Canada’s Northwest Territories to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2011, at one point flying nonstop 27 hours through a tropical storm. (This story is related in an author’s note.) Wildlife photographer Halliday has used a combination of traditional and digital media to create striking, allusive images, many of them dark double-page spreads in which spots and streaks emphasize the power of the storm and the viewpoint twists and turns. Like many bird migrations, most of this tale happens at night. At dawn the whimbrel starts off again. Color and light return, and by sunset she reaches the tropics, where she faces new dangers before reuniting with her sisters. The author/illustrator has added details, including the bird’s nestmates and a pause on a city windowsill where sympathetic hands offer her a restorative plate of small fish, but on the whole the saga rings true. Naming her protagonist Numenia, from the bird’s Latin name, Numenius phaeopus, the writer crafts her story as a ballad, with carefully chosen words and plenty of alliteration. It would make a suspenseful storytime read-aloud. Pair with Nancy Carol Willis’ more informational Red Knot (2006).
A dramatic depiction of a remarkable avian accomplishment. (bibliography) (Picture book. 4-7)