By: Sandra Markle
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Publication Date: January 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: May 7, 2013
The shards of an egg lay beneath the long legs of a “little female bar-tailed godwit.” Her mother looked down at her fuzzy chick who began to peep at her. “Peep! Peep! The midnight Alaskan sky still gave off plenty of light in June and other young godwit chicks could be seen in the distance. The little chick was the last to hatch and already her sisters and brothers were hunting insects with their father. The chicks don’t wander far from their nest for a couple of days. The family forages in the grass in search of food, but when it is time to rest “their parents take turns sitting on them to keep them warm.”
They all need to eat, but the “parents need to double their body weight before fall” in anticipation for their long migration. The grasses are home to insects and soon the little godwit wanders in search of them. A lone Arctic fox searches for his food in the grass and sees the little chick, but “her father spots the fox and squawks a warning.” Other adult godwits join in the attack and she is safe ... for now. During the course of a month her downy fur gives way to feathers and she’s “hopping and flapping her wings.” Soon it will be time for her to fly.
This is a charming, lyrical tale of godwit life and their migration. The story is told in a picture book format, making it more appealing to a wider audience. We watch the godwit chick from the time she emerges from her shell to the time she is old enough to migrate to New Zealand. The artwork, a combination of watercolor and collage, is quite graceful and captures the very essence of the godwit. In the back of the book is a fast facts section, “Godwits Are Amazing,” a personal perspective from the author, and recommended book and video resources to explore. There are additional complementary educational resources on the publisher’s website.
Quill says: This is an excellent introduction to the godwit that young naturalists will love!