Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95
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Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  667 ratings  ·  197 reviews
B95 can feel it: a stirring in his bones and feathers. It’s time. Today is the day he will once again cast himself into the air, spiral upward into the clouds, and bank into the wind.
He wears a black band on his lower right leg and an orange flag on his upper left, bearing the laser inscription B95. Scientists call him the Moonbird because, in the course of his astoundingl...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published July 17th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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28th out of 111 books — 995 voters
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Quite possibly one of the best children's nonfiction books I've ever read. Rufa Red Knot, B95, (known as Moonbird) has flown so many miles in his 19 year lifespan, he could have flown to the moon. Surviving harsh conditions, dwindling food sources, and grueling flights across oceans, this valiant superbird "has to be among the toughest four ounces of life in the world." Using B95 as the protagonist in a riveting survival story, Phillip Hoose describes the plight of migratory shorebirds, who are...more
Barb Middleton
Ever hear of a robin-sized bird that flies from South Pole to the North Pole? Me neither. This story follows the migratory patterns of Moonbird, a rufa red knot, that travels 18,000 miles each year on a primordial quest for food and mates. Researchers tagged Moonbird in 1995 and ironically put a band on his leg that represented the captured group B series - he just happened to be number 95. The author tends to call him B95 moreso than Moonbird. Moonbird's name reflects that after twenty years, h...more
I loved this book at first, but it lost some speed with me. Hoose does a great job at writing the drama of the scientists waiting on beaches, the average people making discoveries and turning into scientists, and his own role in a bird-banding. I was far less taken with the sections about Moonbird himself that are speculative and somewhat anthropomorphic; I didn't find them an effective method of story-telling or fact-sharing. I would have been happy with a book that didn't have a central charac...more
Jim Erekson
Another difficult review to write, because this book is a genre-breaker. Like Helfer's book about the lion, this one is really a biography but it's about an animal rather than a person. Hoose dedicates the careful attention to this individual bird we would expect from a biographer. At the same time, however, the book is jam-packed with all of the visual features and structure we have come to expect from exemplary informational text.

1. Sourcing. Eight pages of chapter by chapter notes in back ma...more
I'll just come right out and say it, I don't normally read non-fiction books. Since I have been keeping up this year with mock newbery titles and this was one of them, I decided to go for it.

I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I picked this book up, but I wasn't expecting what I got. When I first opened it up, I was a little disheartened to see that it looked like a textbook. Text on the page with text boxes, pictures and maps thrown on the pages too.

I jumped into reading it and was really s...more
Anne Broyles
Science rarely interests me. I am more the humanities/history type. Phillip Hoose's books are so enticingly written and beautifully illustrated, I am hooked. And how could anyone resist the beautiful B95, a rufa red-knot (shorebird) who has survived at least twenty years of migrating 9,000 miles each way from Tierra del Fuego to the Canadian Arctic.

Hoose tells a compelling story with a memorable protagonist who happens to be the size of a robin. And as he does, the author teaches about extinctio...more
Patricia Powell
One small shorebird, a rufa redknot, tagged B95 many years ago, has probably lived longer than 20 years. His history and that of all rufas is told by master storyteller Phillip Hoose in “Moonbird: a Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95” (Farrar 2012).
Every year B95 and his compadre rufas migrate from the southern tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego to the Canadian Arctic and back again. “But trip by trip, B95 threads the sky with fewer companions.” “Can humans and shorebirds coexist...more
Not sure this is a Newbery contender but I enjoyed reading this heroic tale of Moonbird, a.k.a. B95, a Rufa Red Knot shorebird that flies thousands of miles from Tierra del Fuego to northern Canada. Challenged by weather and man, the Rufa Red Knot population is plummeting. Hoose hopes that his book can help young & old learn about these beautiful birds and help save them from extinction. Writing was clear, compelling, entertaining. Lots of great scientific info about how the birds are trappe...more
Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose is not just your ordinary nonfiction book. It’s not even your average book about birds or endangered animals. Rather it’s on multiple lists of the best books of 2012, which is where I first encountered it. Moonbird is also the recipient of The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal Honor, which is why I first decided to read it. It has even won several awards for best science book.

Hoose focuses on an individual bird: B9...more
Read for Mock Printz
I get a big heavy feeling in my chest when I read about species in peril because it seems to be too big of a problem for anyone to solve and the whole thing feels hopeless. This book is about the amazing journey of a bird, but it's also about the trouble his fellow birds are in. I don't know what to do about that and dealt with my despair by putting the book down and never picking it up again.

Also, I found the prose rather breathless. And that annoyed me.
I read this for the YALSA 2013 Morris/Nonfiction Challenge. I never would have read it otherwise, but it is pretty good. It was nice that he added profiles of some of the people who are involved in tracking this bird. I thought the whole book made it clear that regular people could be involved in this type of activity, that you don't need to be an official scientist to participate in some way.
What may come across as a boring and dry book about a bird was actually fun to read and very enlightening. I knew of the connection between red knots and horseshoe crabs prior to this book, but the journey that a red knot endures each year was new to me and made me remember the joy I have in observing shorebirds. I couldn't help but think of my own story as I read this one, and it opened my eyes to a few different ways I could have gone. Not everybody will have the patience to read this whole bo...more
BOB 2013-14.

I really don't know how to write a review of this book because I didn't finish it. It wasn't bad, but there were other books to read and I didn't feel compelled. This is the biography of a bird, B95 by name, but it is also the story of his species. I had never heard of a rufa red knot before. I doubt I will ever see one. But it is sad to hear of a species that may become extinct.

Looks like a textbook. Text boxes, beautiful pictures, annotated sources. Great narrative nonfiction. I j...more
This book recounts the story of a rufa red knot known as B95, from the band that he wears on his left leg. B95 was first banded in 1995, and at the time he already sported adult plumage, which means he must have been about three years old in 1993. When this book was written, B95, also known as Moonbird, was approximately 20 years old. During those twenty years, he had flown over 325,000 miles, migrating between his breeding grounds in northern Canada to his summer feeding grounds on the islands...more
This is an intriguing story about the amazing annual journey of a particular type of shorebird, the red knots, as they move their small bodies up and down the globe. The story is made even more fascinating with its focus on one bird, tagged as B95 approximately 17 years ago, who continues to make and survive this journey, becoming a hero for shorebird advocates. Phillip Hoose spends a chapter on each leg of the birds' journey, including compelling details of the fragility their food chain, how t...more
"Each species with which we share the earth is a success story. Each of our cohabitants has evolved an ingenious set of life strategies, and made them work. To live on an earth without fascinating, often beautiful creatures would be to live on a lesser earth. The trick is not to let them slip away, but to understand and help them on their terms."

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95, P. 113

The battle over natural conservation is often a hotly debated one, with those on eit...more
Much more compelling than I expected, though I don't see much child appeal. For some reason most of us come to bird interest as adults. Something about journeys and struggle, the fragility of bodies, or a certain patience--in any case, despite a few examples of young birders in the book, this would appeal to only a very small slice of youth. It's a book I want to share with bird-loving adults in my life, but I can't think of any of the children in my library who would get and stay interested.

Man of Steel move over...there is a new superhero up in the skies and he is B95, a rufa red knot, who is a migratory shore bird who flies some 9,000 miles every year from his wintering grounds at the tip of South America to his breeding grounds near the Arctic Circle. The author documents a year in the life of this remarkable bird, and the dedicated group of scientists that are studying red knots and trying to prevent extinction of this species. B95 is almost 20 years old and during his remarkab...more
Lady Lioness
Day Two of no power, thanks to Sandy, and again writing this out long-hand. Cell phone access has been very sporadic so I can't get online at all. I miss you, Internet.

Anywho, Moonbird was another selection from the Stars so Far list. I have long been fascinated with endangered and extinct species, so this one was right up my alley. The author, Phillip Hoose, uses one creature from the rufa red knot species, B95 aka the Moonbird, to illustrate the endurance of these birds. The book largely focu...more
Brandy Painter
I am not a person who thinks much or cares much about birds. In fact, I have only ever entertained two thoughts about them:
1. They are frequently tasty.
2. They are annoying when I'm trying to sleep in.

This book had me seriously interested in the fate of a bird and through him an entire species of birds. Well done, Mr. Hoose. For anyone who thinks scientific non-fiction can't have plot I offer up this book to prove you wrong. As you read you can't help but cheer and fear for B95 as he makes his p...more
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: MOONBIRD: A YEAR ON THE WIND WITH THE GREAT SURVIVOR B95 by Phillip Hoose, Farrar Straus & Giroux, July 2012, 160p., ISBN: 978-0-374-30468-3

“Summer lovin’, had me a blast
Summer lovin’, happened so fast”
--Summer Nights (from Grease)

“When tilting along a beach, the horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) looks like a helmet dragging a barbed spear, leaving a road-grader-like print in the sand. More closely related to spiders and scorpions than to crabs, Limulus seems prehistoric, a...more
Lisa Castellano
Phillip Hoose tells us the story of a bird species, the red rufa knot, threatened by extinction, and he does this by telling the reader about the life of B-95. B-95 is an extraordinary bird, not just for his annual migration from Tierra del Fuego to the Canadian Arctic, but becuase he is over twenty years old.Hoose relates the plight of the red rufa knot through scientists and volunteers who track the species migration through the Americas. He explains the roles that the scientists and volunteer...more
Jennie Smith
I can honestly say that I never thought I would be one scouring the Internet to see if a bird was still alive. Never having a bird when growing up, I didn't understand the love people had for them. Now, however, I am a regular checker-upper on Moonbird. This book was recommended to me by an amazing teacher friend who warned me that I would become invested in the bird. I didn't really take her seriously (about the "becoming invested" part), but I should have.

This book was not only fascinating in...more
I'm pleased that I finally read this book, which I intend to booktalk to the fifth grade. It's a very clear, well-illustrated book that shows:
1. Something of the life and life cycle of a remarkable bird.
2. How scientists do research, and how they were able to find out how red knots like the moonbird live.
3. the contributions of citizen scientists, like a class of Argentinian students and their teacher, and the New Jersey fisherman who showed the scientists an important feeding ground for the kno...more
Nov 22, 2012 Joan rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: nature lovers, birders.
This is the story of shorebirds, specifically Rufa, told through one amazing bird known as B95. His nickname is Moonbird, because they calculate in his incredible lifespan (almost 20 years old now) he has flown the equivalent of to the moon and halfway back! His species needs to always be in the equivalent of spring and summer so it migrates from near the south pole to the Arctic areas and then back each year! They do nonstop trips of hundreds to thousands of miles at one time, without a break i...more
Shannon Grieshaber
I feel bad giving this book one star. It is definitely a well-written, thoroughly researched, important book; it's just not my thing. I did not find it entertaining, but those interested in the subject of this particular bird, the species, or endangered species, in general, certainly will. I did appreciate the appendix which gives readers information regarding what they can do to help save shorebirds. Would be an excellent addition to middle and high school collections, especially because of the...more
Moonbird: A Year on the Wind With the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose focusses on a particular, long-lived Rufa red knot, while discussing these shorebirds, their long migrations, research by scientist and volunteers, and extinction threats to the species.

Hoose introduces B95 and essential background points, including rapidly declining numbers of rufa red knots, in the intro and first chapter while highlighting that rich food source, young mussels, at the Tierra del Fuego wintering grounds....more
Brenda Lower
You can find this review, plus others, at my blog at:

This is a finalist for the YALSA 2013 Award for the Excellence in Non-Fiction. This review is part of their reading challenge! Learn more about YALSA, the award, and the challenge at

Moonbird is based on a small shorebird called a rufa red knot, known by the number B95. First seen in 1995, this bird has flown from the southern tip of South America to north of the Hud...more
4.2 stars
I got this title from a list of best children's nonfiction books for 2012. However, I'm not sure if kids will readily pick up this book and read it all the way through. It's not a long book, but kids might get stalled in some of the beginning information in the book about how bird researchers developed methods to net/capture birds so that their legs could be banded and the birds, therefore, tracked.
Red knot rufas are small shorebirds--about the size of a robin. Every year the red knot r...more
Roberta Gibson
Phillip Hoose has a wonderful new middle-grade book released this month, Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95. After winning the 2009 National Book Award with Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, he has gone in a new direction, but once again he has found a little-known main character whose story deserves to be told.

Who or what is “moonbird?” The title refers to a tiny bird who has flown an estimated 350,000 miles – over the distance to the moon and halfway back – in his l...more
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Phillip Hoose is the widely-acclaimed author of books, essays, stories, songs, and articles, including the National Book Award winning book, Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice.

He is also the author of the multi-award winning title, The Race to Save the Lord God Bird, the National Book Award Finalist We Were There Too!: Young People in U.S. History, and the Christopher Award-winning manual for...more
More about Phillip M. Hoose...
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“Each species with which we share the earth is a success story. Each of our cohabitants has evolved an ingenious set of life strategies, and made them work. To live on an earth without fascinating, often beautiful creatures would be to live on a lesser earth. The trick is not to let them slip away, but to understand and help them on their terms.” 1 likes
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