From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5–Rylants clear descriptions are matched with expansive, semi-realistic paintings of different animals and the terrain through which they travel. Locusts, monarch butterflies, gray whales, American silver eels, caribou, and Arctic terns are presented as ...miracles in motion. Rylant mentions the incomplete understanding of science about how animals navigate the extreme distances and habitat shifts in their complex journeys. There are no maps depicting routes or location. Often, they are stated in broad terms: the gray whales go from the Arctic Circle down the west coast to Mexico, and the monarchs go from the northern United States and Canada down to California or Mexico on the one coast or Florida on the other with no specific southern locations. The Sargasso Sea, where the eels begin life, the tundra of the caribou, or the unspecified African regions invaded by the locusts may be dim realities for some readers. No acknowledgment of scientific sources is offered. Most of the animal portraits are reasonable approximations (the enlarged, hard-edge locusts have a mechanical feel), and the realistic stories will be enjoyed by those who favor books about real animals. They will also serve well as read-aloud introductions to classroom units on migration.–Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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Gr. 2-4. This large-format book begins with a brief introduction to animal migration before relating six tales of migration. These are not individual journeys, but narratives relating the migratory habits of six species: the desert locust, the blue whale, the American silver eel, the monarch butterfly, the caribou, and the Arctic tern. Each highly illustrated chapter follows a species through a round-trip cycle of its travels, describing how and why the trip is made as well as life along the journey. Well matched with Rylant's measured prose, Davis' paintings offer clearly delineated, well-composed views of the animals in different stages of growth and habitats. Throughout the book, Rylant conveys a strong sense of the difficulties faced by the animals and an appreciation of migration as "one of the wonderful mysteries on this earth." With large print and many clear illustrations, this book would be equally effective for independent reading or sharing with a school class. Carolyn Phelan
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