The Long, Long Journey
Written by Sandra Markle
Illustrated by Mia Posada
Crackle! Crackle! Crunch! The Long, Long Journey paints a picture of one amazing little bird. The story tracks the life of a female bar-tailed godwit. It starts with her hatching and follows her early life in Alaska. It lets readers watch as she gobbles insects to put on weight. Second grade readers will enjoy seeing how she avoids animals like the Arctic fox that wants to eat her for dinner. It joins the godwit and her flock as they fly thousands of miles, day after day, to cross the ocean.
Mia Posada’s accompanying artwork is a wonderful mixture of collage and watercolor. Readers can see the soft down of the chicks. They can feel the woody branches of the arctic plants. They can almost touch the crisp feathers of the adult birds.
Godwits are amazing! The number-crunching bulleted list of facts at the end of the story adds the details. Godwits hatch in only twenty-one days. They are able to walk and feed themselves right away. They eat so much that half of their body weight is fat. They need this fat to fuel the journey. One godwit flew 7,270 miles (11,700 kilometers) nonstop from Alaska to New Zealand.
The Long, Long Journey is a perfect read-aloud book for the second grade level. It gently introduces the subject of migration as a true story. It expands this knowledge with a list of websites, books, and videos. Using these resources readers can learn more about the godwit and other bird’s migration.
Sandra Markle lives near Christchurch, New Zealand. Her author’s note at the very end describes the godwit festival. People from around the country celebrate the godwit’s arrival in the spring and its departure to Alaska every fall. Fall in New Zealand is spring in Alaska. Teachers can use the information to create a variety of reading and writing activities and maybe even create their own migratory bird celebration.