Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Today's read... Gilbert's Migration Vacation by Susan Sachs Levine


    The Story of an Original Snowbird
by Susan Sachs Levine
Illustrated by Irene Bofill
Mascot Kids
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 4 to 8

How will Gilbert find his way south? 

Gilbert is a Sanderling chick who hatched high in the Arctic tundra. Now, he must find his way south for the winter where warm weather and plentiful food await. Join Gilbert as he teams up with two other young Sanderlings to embark on an amazing journey of over 4,000 miles. The trip is not easy! They must deal with hurricanes, hungry falcons, and confusing city lights. But as Gilbert helps his friends navigate each obstacle, he gains the skills and confidence he needs to succeed. Curious readers will learn all about shorebirds, their incredible migrations, and how we can help protect these fascinating birds.

GOODREADS    /    AMAZON    /    B&N


Gilbert is a Sanderling to adore, and combined with migration and bird facts, his adventure offers more than a fun read. 

Gilbert is finally strong enough to attempt the migration from the Arctic tundra and head south. His father gives him some words of advice before he and his friends start their journey, and Gilbert will need them. The journey holds many adventures along the way, but Gilbert is determined to make his father proud and reach where he needs to be.

Gilbert's journey is well done and grabs attention as he takes the very long flight south. The situations are based on reality, and thanks to the writing, grab attention the entire way through. The tale makes a lovely read-aloud and flows very smoothly. The illustrations bring across the birds and landscapes naturally and make Gilbert and the other birds come to life. These are enjoyable to gaze at even after the story is done.

The author goes then takes this book a step further. Each two-page spread offers a side section, where the information surrounding each step of Gilbert's journey is revealed. This offers all sorts of facts, spanning from landscapes to food to migration paths and more. These are written with the intended age group in mind but carry enough depth to make this book into an entire theme surrounding bird migration. The extras at the end of the book allow for even more depth.

This is a very well laid out and written book, which cleverly places an engaging tale alongside the facts. I see this as a wonderful edition not only to classroom settings and homeschoolers but for those readers, who are curious about nature and birds.

And here she is...

Susan Sachs Levine is a Florida-based wildlife lover and the author of several children’s picture books. Gilbert’s Migration Vacation is Susan’s second book set in Florida and is a testament to her passion for Florida’s magnificent birds. Susan’s books are known for their unique hybrid format – a fun, fast-paced, fictional story supplemented by educational fact boxes.  

Susan’s first picture book about birds Jenny’s First Catch, An Adventure with Nature’s Wading Birds was published by Mascot Books in 2020.  Jenny’s First Catch follows a young Roseate Spoonbill, Jenny, who wants to teach herself to fish and surprise her mom.  She meets a variety of wading birds along the way including a Snowy Egret, a White Ibis, a Wood Stork, and a Great Blue Heron. They try to teach her their method of fishing, but Jenny’s big spoonbill just won’t work like the other birds’ bills.  Key science themes of physical adaptation and habitat partitioning are woven throughout the story as Jenny learns important lessons about perseverance and being true to herself. 

“Parents and grandparents looking for enjoyable, educational, outdoor activities for their children will find that Gilbert’s Migration Vacation and Jenny’s First Catch can be springboards for family birding fun”, says Susan Levine.  “Florida and many parts of the eastern seaboard are a paradise for beautiful birds with many preserves for easy viewing. How many birds in the books can your family find?!”

Susan Sachs Levine grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and started her career in marketing with Procter & Gamble. She then moved to Columbus where she became VP of Marketing and Environmental Affairs for an international packaging company. A wildlife enthusiast, Susan has traveled extensively to learn about the natural world. Susan is a certified Florida Master Naturalist who now resides in Naples, Florida.

To order your custom inscribed book, set up an interview, reading, signing, or for information regarding Susan’s picture books please contact Susan Levine at

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