Ride the Wind by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino. Candlewick, 2021. 9781536212846
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? The windy coast of Chile is the setting of this stirring story by naturalist Nicola Davies. While fishing with his father, Javier rescues a wounded albatross. Although his father is angry with him for taking time away from his boat duties, Javier is intent on helping the albatross recover, and hides it away. His father finds it and sells it, but Javier again rescues the bird, and, in a really dramatic scene, finally releases it during a windstorm.
This picture book is richly satisfying on several levels. The story harnesses the big emotions of Javier’s grief for his mother, as he cares for the lost albatross, which he “was sure…was a female.” There’s also violence, as Javier smashes the window of a car to free the albatross a second time. And then there’s the tearful reunion of the father and son at the end, when Javier’s father realizes “I’ve thought only that I lost a wife, never that Javier lost a mother.” The drama of the wind and the sea, portrayed by Rubbino’s gorgeous mixed media art, is really arresting. I love how his brush strokes evoke the wild wind that permeates Javier’s village and the sea. His depictions of the albatross, with its huge wingspan, are majestic
Davies includes a note about wandering albatrosses, which are threatened with extinction. Once again, she tells a great story which highlights an endangered animal.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? This longer picture book is not for preschoolers. But it would be a great read aloud for first through third grade classrooms.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: September 20, 2021