Ride the Wind

Ride the Wind
Nicola Davies and Salvatore Rubbino
Walker Books

Out on a fishing trip with his father Tomas and Uncle Felipe, Javier sees that an albatross has been caught on one of the fishing hooks and is barely alive. He wraps the bird in a tarpaulin and hides it away.

Once they reach the shore, he stows it safely and starts nursing it back to health with the kind help of some of the village residents who give him healing ointments, a dog’s bed and fish at low cost.

As Javier and the bird get to know one another, the boy becomes sure it’s a female he’s caring for, but it’s impossible to keep its presence a secret.

His father agrees to allow it to stay until their next sea trip but the lad has his own very special reason for caring so much about the bird’s fate.

Little by little the albatross gets better but as the trip draws ever closer, she shows no sign of taking to the wing.

Then talk of an imminent ‘big wind’ gives Javier an idea. But when he goes to find the bird, he learns that his father has got rid of it.

Not caring for the consequences of his actions, Javier is determined to rescue the albatross and send her flying homewards.

Can he pull off his daring bird launch? And what will be his father’s reaction when he discovers what his son has done?

Salvatore Rubbino’s splendid watercolour illustrations capture both the emotions and the drama of Nicola Davies’ heartfelt telling that interweaves a father and son’s grieving, and the albatross and its fate. (Nicola also includes an introductory note about wandering albatrosses like the one in her story.)

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