#106 – Wisdom by Darcy Pattison

 5 Stars

 On December10, 1956, early in my first visit to Midway, I banded 99 incubating Laysan Albatrosses in the ‘downtown’ area of Sand Island, Midway.  Wisdom (band number 587-51945), is still alive, healthy, and incubating again in December of 2011.  While I have grown old and gray and get around only with the use of a cane, Wisdom still looks and acts just the same as on the day I banded her . . . remarkable true story . . . beautifully illustrated in color.  –Chandler S. Robbins, Sc.D, Senior Scientist (Retired), USGS Patuxent Wildllife Research Center, Laurel, MD

Wisdom is a Laysan Albatross, a wild bird from the Hawaiian Island of Laysan, about 800 miles northwest of Honolulu.  Laysan is a low laying sand island, very important as a breeding ground for Hawaiian monk seals and several species of sea birds, including the albatross.  Wisdom was first banded by scientists in 1956, but no one knows for sure when she was born.

Wisdom is a tough bird.  She has weathered earthquakes that caused tsunamis,’ tropical storms, thunderstorms, hurricanes, and man-made dangers such as plastics and fishing lines.  In 2011, Wisdom, at age 61, laid her thirty-fifth egg.  Her chick is apparently as tough a bird as its mother.  When a terrible storm washed ashore 110,000 chicks and 2,000 adults died.  Wisdom’s chick survived.

This is one heck of a story.  Wisdom seems to be Super Bird having survived all of the dangers of living in the Pacific Ocean—or rather soaring above it.  The author has done extensive research on Wisdom, speaking with those who actually monitored albatrosses from Laysan.  The story reads like a biography, but without the red-herrings.  This book will be a wonderful resource for the elementary grades.  There is so much to learn about the oldest known bird in the Pacific Ocean.  Wisdom, the Mid-way Albatross is a story of sheer determination.

The illustrations are excellent at capturing the beauty of the region.  I love the double spread of Wisdom soaring above the ocean.  To think she soared for five or six years is simply remarkable. On the cover, Wisdom pops right out at you, thanks to a black background.  This cover will be easy to find on any bookshelf.  Between the author and the illustrator, Wisdom, the Mid-way Albatross is a stunning story of one bird’s life journey against seemingly insurmountable natural and artificial disasters.

Not only is Wisdom, the Mid-Way Albatross a wonderful resource for elementary schools, it is interesting reading for  adults, such as myself, who learned so much from the text, the references in the back, and all the side journeys from wanting to know more about the region and the birds.  A smart student is going to take these interesting facts and exciting story and turn them into an A+ book report.

Wisdom, The Midway Albatross: Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and other Disasters for over 60 Years

Author: Darcy Pattison
Illustrator: Kitty Harvill
Publisher: Mims House
Release Date: 2012
Number of Pages: 32
ISBN: 978-0-9798-6217-5
Ages: 8+



Today, 3/28/2012 is —

The One Year Anniversary of Kid Lit Reviews

Much has been learned since that first day.  Probably the most important is the need to schedule posts.  That first day 14 reviews were posted. 14!? Definitely  the hyperactive behavior of a first time blogger.   I had been reviewing books for quite some time, for much the same sources as now, without a site of my own.  Thinking that was sorta dumb to put my work all over the web without having my own place,  Kid Lit Reviews was born.

Originally, the name was to have been<–curious?clickhere–>

9 thoughts on “#106 – Wisdom by Darcy Pattison

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    • Me either. I had heard the word albatross, but had no idea it was a bird, let alone a sea bird of the Hawaiian Islands. Actually, some of those “dots” are atolls, which I had to look up the definition. It is an island or mass of land with a pool of water in the middle, kind of like a donut. The one the albatross is from has a pool the is super salty. I learned so much checking up on this book by Darci Pattison. It was all pretty neat. Lots I never knew.

      You would definitely like this, I think.


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