The Mystery of Animal Migration
By Mariane Berkes
Published by Dawn Publications
Reviewed by Emily Baker-LaRouf
What pushes an animal to travel thousands of miles to places it has never seen or to reproduce in the same spot as its ancestors did? The mysteries of the animal world are many and scientists still don’t hold all the answers. Exploring these topics with children can be exciting and a little daunting. I recently had the pleasure of reading Going Home to my kids and the timing couldn’t have been better. With fall changing toward winter here in Minnesota we have watched the bird activity increase as the flocks head southward toward warmer climes. This book provided a great jumping off point to migration in general.
Going Home highlights the migratory habits and patterns of ten different animals from Monarch butterflies to Manatees, you will be enthralled to learn about the unique things each species undergoes in the quest for reproduction and the continuation of the species. The story is told in a repeated poetic stanza, which offers a lovely continuity broken up by factual information about each species. The illustrations are beautiful and add to the information presented. Our favorite part of the book was the map that illustrated the distance that each animal travels on in journey. It really brought home how amazing this phenomenon is.
This book would be a lovely read aloud to a class talking about animals in general or about the fascinating migration patterns of the animal world. It is equally well received at home with a cuddle on the couch. The back of the book offers further information about migration as well as a book list, related websites and two movie suggestions to continue the conversation. I think that it would be a wonderful lesson paired with participation in the Great Backyard Bird Count (February, 2011 http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/) or as part of a butterfly raising/release project in a classroom. Going Home would be a great addition to any school or home library.
Emily LeRoux lives in Maple Grove, Minnesota with her husband and two increasingly eco-literate children.