Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The ferry birds by Helen Dunmore illustrated by Rebecca Cobb

When you see seagulls flying beside a ferry do you ever wonder where they are going?  Do the seagulls simply travel back and forth with the ferry all day?  In The Ferry Birds by Helen Dunmore flocks of turnstones, birds that are related to sandpipers, spend their days travelling from one side of the harbour to the other.  Jago and his mum catch this same ferry when they regularly visit Great-Gran.  

When she was young Great-Gran was a pilot and Jago likes to try on her flying jacket and goggles when his visits. 

Then Jago discovers the truth about the turnstones. They travel from shore to shore collecting feathers and fine pieces of seaweed.  This is woven into a net and can be used to fly any traveler who needs to fly to the far north. Jago needs to make this journey to see his dad.  He is away exploring the rocks to find precious metals. Late at night the turnstones visit Jago and so his adventure begins.  You can probably guess what happens but somehow this is still quite a magical story.  The illustrations are perfect. You can almost touch the feathers on these special birds.

This book was inspired by a true story :
"For six years two Turnstones caught the 8.15 ferry from Falmouth to St Mawes crossing the Fal Estuary, a journey of three miles, they returned on the 5.15.  They were nick-named Freddy and Freda by the skipper and became famous worldwide for this extraordinary behaviour, featuring in the Daily Mail and Telegraph."

I found this book in Cornwall when I visited a lovely bookshop. I was looking for books by local authors.  We do have books by Helen Dunmore in our school library. She is the author of the Ingo series.  Another author from Cornwall is Liz Kessler author of the Emily Windsnap series. 

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