WISDOM The Midway Albatross

March 14, 2012

WISDOM The Midway Albatross

By Darcy Pattison

Illustrated by Kitty Harvill

Mims House, 2012

ISBN #9780979862175 paperback

Epub #9780979862175

Nonfiction picture book

Grades 2-5

I read Darcy Pattison’s Fiction Notes (and Revision Notes) for several years and I met her last summer when we were on the Nonfiction Book Blast panel speaking at ALA. When I learned she had a new book out, I read it and enjoyed this well-written, fascinating story of an albatross who survived an amazing 60+ years and the trials of the recent Japanese earthquake and  tsunami.

The book begins with the baby Laysan albatross as a chick. The bird grew up and in 1956 she mated, hatching her own chick. While she was on the nest, research scientist Chandler Robbins banded her.  Over the years, the bird lived, ate, and flew, raising chicks each year or so. She outlived 87% of her rookery mates. In 2002, Robbins recaught the albatross and rebanded her in a red, easy to see band. She was also named Wisdom for her ability to survive against remarkable odds.

The writing is lively and flows well. A sort of refrain moves through the book about Wisdom’s survival following lengthier text passages. The art is realistic and portrays the animals quite well. Pattison’s ability to include more than one subject in her books is evident here while the true storyline is a heart-warming one. This fascinating tale of survival against odds is one listeners and young readers are sure to enjoy.


Look up the Laysan albatross and read about them. Then create a diagram that shows the life cycle of this bird that lives most of its life soaring over water.

National Geographic has information about the albatross in general.

The Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge has more about this albatross breed.

This site has information about the Laysan albatross and their Midway island nesting site.

See additional information about the book and albatrosses at Darcy’s book site.

More about the book and other posts:

Sue Heavenrich at Archimedes Notebook

Laurie Thompson has an author interview with Darcy Pattison

Diane R. Chen Kelly at Practically Paradise

Jeff at North Carolina Teacher Stuff

Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

National Science Standards: growth and development of organisms; adaptations

Book provided by author.


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