Wisdom, the Midway Albatross: Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and Other Disasters for Over 60 Years
Written by Darcy Pattison
Illustrated by Kitty Harvill
Wisdom’s life is a remarkable story, at times touching and suspenseful, but ultimately inspiring. Survival is hard enough for a Laysan Albatross. Wisdom was one of many chicks born that year on Midway Atoll, but few survived long enough to fly. That was the first hurdle for this little chick. She took to the skies, flying and catching food from the sea for years. She endured predators, such as sharks and natural phenomenon, such as tsunami, but returned to Midway in 1956. That year she mated and laid an egg. We know that because a research scientist caught her and banded her that year. Through this study, Wisdom’s life is documented. Not only did she endure the normal circumstances that threaten birds, now she faced death from manmade causes. Many birds became victims of eating plastic that appeared in the ocean. Some got caught in longline fishing lines and were trapped. When her band was checked in 2002, scientists were so impressed by her longevity that they gave her a name: Wisdom. They documented her laying an egg each year from 2008 through 2011. But that year, not only did a big storm hit, a tsunami flooded the island. Many albatrosses were killed. Scientists worried about Wisdom and her chick. For nearly ten days, no one saw her until they finally spotted her feeding her chick safe in their nest.
Readers can’t help but cheer for the tough, beautiful bird. Students could listen and list the different threats to Wisdom’s survival as a literacy activity. It would make a great class read aloud for both environmental and animal units. The soft watercolor illustrations are a lovely accompaniment to the text. There is a book trailer on the author’s website which will be a quick introduction to the book: (http://albatross.darcypattison.com/). The U. S. Fish and Wildlife service has frequent “Wisdom” updates at: (http://www.fws.gov/midway/whatsnew.html).
- TITLE: Wisdom, the Midway Albatross: Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and Other Disasters for Over 60 Years
- AUTHOR: Darcy Pattison
- ILLUSTRATOR: Kitty Harvill
- PUBLISHER: Mims House, 2012
- REVIEWER: Risa Brown
- EDITION: Paperback, 32 p.
- ISBN: 978-0-9798621-7-5
- GENRE: Non-fiction, animal stories
- LEXILE: 840