In four short months, a bar-tailed godwit chick becomes an adult that makes an incredible journey.
Migrating 7,000 miles south from their breeding grounds, bar-tailed godwits flee the Arctic winter for the Southern-Hemisphere summer, making the longest known nonstop flight of any bird. From fluffy hatchling on the Alaskan tundra to adulthood on the New Zealand mudflats, Markle describes one female chick’s experience for young readers and listeners. There is no anthropomorphization in this narrative, just gentle realism. The author introduces some predators: A fox sneaks up, but the adult birds shoo it away while the chick hides. Later, on the migration flight, the bird avoids a peregrine falcon. Though the text is simple, the author paints a clear picture. “The young female prances across the mud on her long legs.” Finally, “The young female swoops down with the flock to the New Zealand mudflats, where land mingles with the sea.” Posada uses painted papers and other fluffy materials for her collage illustrations, which fill the double-page spreads. The bird’s signature upturned beak and changing colors are clearly shown. Additional facts, resources for further exploration and an author’s note round out the package.
Readers of Markle’s Snow School (2013) and Waiting for Ice (2012), both illustrated by Alan Marks, will welcome this additional account of a baby animal’s growth to independence. (Informational picture book. 4-9)