“In its lifetime,” writes Baker (Mirror) on the title page, “a godwit will usually fly farther than the distance from the earth to the moon.” In her examination of the life of this globe-circling bird, which belongs to the sandpiper family, the artist’s minutely constructed collage spreads look tranquil when viewed from afar but teem with life close up. She gives white wing patches to one lithe, long-beaked godwit, then places him in a flock so dense that readers can almost hear the wingbeats. A boy in a wheelchair watches them leave the Australian shore through binoculars (“I wish I could fly,” he sighs). Over China, the birds search for a place to rest, but a city has grown up where they hope to feed. The aerial spread of the fast-growing harbor metropolis dazzles. At last the godwits find a muddy beach, then go on to Alaska, courting, breeding, and raising chicks (tragedy strikes, and only one survives) before returning to Australia and the boy, who has graduated to crutches. It’s hard to imagine a more powerful treatment of migration: Baker conveys the strength of the birds and the fragility of their habitat with equal care. Ages 5–8. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/29/2016 Release date: 05/10/2016 Genre: Children's
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