The Read to Lead book for the fourth week in May is Flute's Journey: The Life of a Wood Thrush by Lynn Cherry.
This is a true story. When Lynne Cherry was just beginning to write Flute's Journey, a friend of hers who studied birds, asked her to put Flute in The Belt Woods. She explained to Lynne that Belt Woods was a 600 acre tract of land that had more nesting migratory birds than anywhere else in the Washington DC area but, she told Lynne, the Belt Woods was in danger of being cut down for a housing development.
The Belt Woods was owned by a man named Seton Belt. It had been in his family since it was given to them as a land grant from the King of England hundreds of years before. Seton Belt's family, for many generations, did not cut down the trees and so, when Seton Belt was an old man, he wanted to will his land to a group that would continue to protect it. He willed it to the Episcopal Church and in the will it said that no trees would be cut and the land would not be sold.
Review: Ages 5-8. Cherry has a gift for sharing her knowledge through engaging fictional stories. Here, through the tale of a young wood thrush, readers learn the dangers migratory birds face. Cherry's illustrations, always a feast for the eyes, provide colorful, richly detailed forest scenes as a handsome backdrop for the story of Flute's autumn migration from his birthplace in a Maryland forest to a Central American rain forest. There he rests and feeds before beginning his journey back north in the spring. Along the way, Flute faces natural predators, but the destruction of habitat is presented as the most serious threat. A concluding author's note makes the point more directly and offers some concrete suggestions for youngsters who want to help. A nice addition to Cherry's impressive body of environmental literature for children. *
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