Flight of the Golden Plover.
Debbie S. Miller. Edited by Carolyn Smith. Illustrated by Daniel Van Zyle.
Grades 4 - 9 / Ages 9 - 14.
"The young female, who only weeks ago was just learning to fly, has come thousands of miles. Now she grows weary as she beats her wings through the pressing wind. With only a few miles remaining on her journey, she suddenly feels turbulent storm clouds around her. The whirl of updrafts and downdrafts tosses and bounces her above the ocean. Heavy raindrops pelt her feathers. Wet and exhausted, she descends through the storm clouds."
This is beautiful book in every possible way, with an incredible story to tell of bird migration. It is the result of the collaboration of two wildlife enthusiasts - author Debbie Miller of Fairbanks, Alaska, and illustrator Daniel Van Zyle of Hawaii. Miller's clear, sometimes poetic descriptions of golden plovers are enhanced by Van Zyle's full-page paintings. His birds, insects, and large animals like grizzly bears and arctic foxes are set against dramatic backgrounds - sunsets, storm clouds at night, the arctic tundra and many others.
The central theme of the book is the amazing migratory flight of golden plovers between Hawaii and Alaska - non-stop for 3,000 miles in only two days! That's about 60 miles per hour! It is a wonderfully informative book, explaining the differences between the birds' lives when in Hawaii or Alaska. There is a pronunciation guide, a decorative map of the route, and a final page with detailed factual information.
This book would be a worthwhile addition to any library, institutional or personal. I know an adult birder, who was thrilled when he looked at it.
Joan Payzant is a retired teacher/librarian, and UNretired writer, of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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