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Little Albatross    by Michael Morpurgo & Michael Foreman order for
Little Albatross
by Michael Morpurgo
Order:  USA  Can
Corgi, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In this entrancing picture book, Michael Morpurgo lyrically describes what life is like for a small albatross - its beauty, its comforts and its dangers - while Michael Foreman paints in the chill northern surroundings in hues of blue and purple.

It begins as winter ends: 'Still, so still sat Mother Albatross, looking out over a grey-green sea. Underneath her, snug in the warmth of her feathers, Little Albatross slept. He was only a few hours old, and already strong with life.' He sleeps, eats the fish that Father and Mother Albatross take turns carrying home for him, and grows 'ever bigger, stronger, noisier, hungrier.'

The author introduces tension by warning us of a lurking predator, a killer bird who's 'always watchful, always waiting, and always still'. Then one day, Mother and Father Albatross decide their baby is big enough to leave while they fish together. As the killer bird skulks ever closer, Mother and Father face danger from fishing nets while their offspring cries to them for help. What will happen to this small family?

This wonderful 'song of the wandering albatross' will entrance young readers, who will be anxious for the little one's safety and happy at the ending. Along the way, they'll learn a little too, about our involvement with the natural world.

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