Tag Archives: migration

Circle and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

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Circle
Jeannie Baker
Walker Books
This moving story begins even before the title page with its narrator lying on his bed wishing, “Ahhhh – I wish I could fly!” When next we meet him he’s on the edge of the beach of a nature reserve watching the ascent of a flock of birds …

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They’re shorebirds – godwits embarking on their long journey north. (In an author’s note at the end of the book we are told this species makes the longest unbroken journey of any animal in the world migrating 11,000 kilometres from Alaska to their southern home in Australia – where Jeannie Baker has lived for many years and where this book begins – and New Zealand.)
It’s a journey that will continue for six days and nights ‘until they know they need to stop,’ with each bird taking a turn as leader of the flock. Increasingly their familiar safe resting places have been replaced with high rise buildings …

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so their search for food has become more and more difficult but eventually they find a place to stop and refuel, eating as much as possible from the rich mud at low tide. The focus is on the godwit with white patches on its wings and finally he flies solo on to the place he remembers. There he makes a nest, attracts a mate and a brood of four chicks duly hatch …

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of which only one survives the ravages of a fox.
After many weeks, the chick is fully grown and again it’s time to move on, feed themselves up in preparation for when an icy wind heralds departure time for the godwit family and a returning flock, that now undertake the awesome nine day flight which takes them full circle back south ‘Following an ancient invisible pathway high above the clouds’ … to the other side of the world where a welcome awaits …

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I learned a great deal from this beautiful book. Its lyrical text and stunning collage illustrations make for a memorable account of godwit migration and thought-provoking glimpses of the child narrator whose personal ‘flight’ is left to readers to interpret: seemingly he too has undergone a transformation.

There’s an altogether different journey in:

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Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Dr Seuss
Harper Collins Children’s Books
From starting at playgroup or in a nursery class, this book, with its weird and wonderful landscapes

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and some strange and on occasion alarming encounters …

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can accompany you or your child through life’s journey with all its highs and lows, uncertainties and unpredictability. It’ll help you take risks, persevere against the odds, take adversity in your stride – (‘I’m sorry to say so/ but, sadly, it’s true/ that Bang-ups/ and Hang-ups/ can happen to you.’); because as Seuss, the rhymer extraordinaire asserts:
So be sure when you step,/ Step with care and great tact/ and remember that Life’s/ a Great Balancing Act. … And will you succeed?/ Yes! You will, indeed!/ (98 and 3/4 per cent guaranteed.) KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
Empowering? Yes. Thought provoking? Ditto!

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Ways Home

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Little Home Bird
Jo Empson
Child’s Play
Little Bird’s home is all he could wish for so when, as the days grow colder and his big brother tells him it’s time to fly south to warmer climes, Little Bird feels more than a little sad. Without his favourite branch, his favourite food, his favourite music and that favourite view of his, the idea of two homes just doesn’t appeal to him. But then Little Bird has an idea: why not take all those favourite things along too, then no matter where he was, it would always feel like home.
Off fly the other birds leaving Little Bird to follow behind; but as the others get ever further ahead, a journey with so much baggage proves too difficult.

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Little Bird has no choice but to start to let go, and, one by one his favourite things find new homes.

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Delighting some of the recipients …

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After a long journey of many days and nights all the birds are safely at their winter home – Little Bird, sans favourite things – but it doesn’t take many days before he starts to discover exciting new things, some of which will become NEW favourite things.

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With those gorgeous illustrations, this is a smashing book to share, especially with youngsters who, for whatever reason, have more than one home.

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Nelly & Nora: The Windy Way Home
Walker Entertainment
The two young characters in this charming book, which is based on Emma Hogan’s CBeebies TV script, are an endearing pair. When the story opens the sisters have been playing down on the sand when suddenly as they lie down side-by-side, they notice the clouds moving fast above them and a bird seeming to fly backwards. “Toooooo windy!” announces Nora. “We should go home,” Nelly replies and off they set up the steps. At the top however the wind is so strong that it’s very difficult to walk and so begins a journey back to the camp that involves observations and experimentation on the girls’ part  …

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not to mention a whole lot of bunching up.

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With a ‘Make your own paper windmills’ activity included, this is just the thing to encourage young children to observe and find out about the world around them.

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