Children's book 'Albuquerque Gerdy' gives a bird's eye view of the Duke City - Albuquerque Journal

Children’s book ‘Albuquerque Gerdy’ gives a bird’s eye view of the Duke City

“Albuquerque Gerdy” by Sandi Wright

“Albuquerque Gerdy” is the latest children’s book from Santa Fe’s Sandi Wright.

Gerdy, a roadrunner, announces that she’s searching for something to eat for lunch.

That search leads her to explore some of well-known places in Albuquerque.

The exploration is prompted by Gerdy finding a “treasure map” that’s caught on a strand of barbed wire. She imagines the map taking her to a treasure chest filled with “gems, gold, and gooey grasshoppers.”

Author Sandi Wright

On closer inspection of the map, Gerdy sees a series of 10 clues each marked with an “X.” She thinks the clues will lead to a hidden treasure. Maybe not what she anticipates.

And so begins Gerdy’s exciting quest. Readers can follow along with her activities and learn what she learns.

There’s an “X” for “Ancient Bones.” To Gerdy, that means checking out the dinosaurs at the Albuquerque Natural History and Science Museum.

The next “X” stands for “Children Explore.” Gerdy visits the Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum across the street. Then she ambles over to Old Town (The clue is listed two ways, as “Early Settlement” or “Ancient Settlement”).

Other clues include an “X” for “Desert Oasis,” representing the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, an “X” for “Sea Creatures” at the ABQ BioPark Aquarium and an “X” for “Sky Floaters,” the Balloon Fiesta Park.

Gerdy gets a ride on a hot air balloon. From a distance, she gazes at the Sandia Mountains and recalls that there’s an “X” on the map for “Red Mountains.” The balloonist drops Gerdy off at the Sandia Crest.

Still not finding the longed-for treasure of minerals and food, Gerdy hops on top of the tram on its ride down the mountain. She loses her balance and goes into a free fall. Just then a soaring hawk reminds Gerdy that she’s a bird and can fly. Good advice. Gerdy glides safely to the ground, quite a feat for low-flying roadrunners.

After her travels, Gerdy declares that the true treasure is the city of Albuquerque.

Gerdy’s adventures actually start at Petroglyph National Monument before she spots the treasure map. The clue “Ancient Art” has an “X” on the map, representing the monument.

“Albuquerque Gerdy” is the fourth book in a series aimed at readers age 5 to 9. Wright said she imagined Gerdy as a roadrunner because she had seen one while visiting the monument.

“It seems that every time I go to Albuquerque I see a roadrunner. They’re attractive and fascinating birds,” she said in a phone interview.

Each book in the series, the author said, has to have a story line with educational value and a moral.

“For ‘Albuquerque Gerdy,’ the moral is to look past what is on the outside, and understand what we are really seeing. We shouldn’t miss out on what’s lovely and beautiful,” she said.

The lower right corner of the cover states “Books that come to life … Try me!!”

It’s an invitation to a special feature on the page behind the front cover. Using cutting-edge augmented reality technology, readers can follow steps to bring a group of images from the book to life.

At the back of the book is a page devoted to facts about the roadrunner.

(Did you know the roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico, that it is found only in the American Southwest, and that it rarely flies more than 10 feet off the ground?)

The next page lists facts about Albuquerque.

Wright’s earlier books in the series are “The Adventures of Santa Fe Sam,” the bilingual (English-Spanish) “The Adventures of Santa Fe Sam/Las aventuras de Santa Fe Sam” and “Sedona’s Search.”

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Sandi Wright will read, discuss and sign copies of “Albuquerque Gerdy” from, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, June 25 at the Rattlesnake Museum, 202 San Felipe NW, Suite A, Old Town.

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