I started telling my husband about the trip these birds make at just 4 months old, and he exclaimed, "L. is almost two, and I don't even like him being atthe end of the driveway!"
While most animals have to grow up quickly, and many different species migrate, godwits are especially impressive in both areas. A young female godwit hatches in Alaska in early June, and her parents protect her from predators and teach her to fend for herself. By August, she is flying - and then her mother leaves! Her father leads the young godwit and her siblings to the coast, but then he, too, takes off.
Around mid-October, the young godwits - with no adults to lead or protect them - take off en masse on a nonstop flight from Alaska to New Zealand. They fly for nearly eight days straight, travelling over 7,000 miles. Their arrival in New Zealand is heralded by gathered crowds and the ringing of cathedral bells, and is seen as one of the first signs of Spring.
The simple but poetic ("The young female prances across the mud on her long legs") text tells the story of this young godwit's first summer, easily imparting facts about food and predators. The illustrations seem almost soft to the touch, just as our feathered friends would be. A page of recommended reading and web site suggestion, as well as an author's note of personal experience complete the book. This would be fine as a read-alone, or as part of a curriculum. Recommended for elementary age libraries or classrooms.
Thank-you to Millbrook Press for the review copy! For more great nonfiction books (and another review of this one), head over to Perogies and Gyoza.