Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration

Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration
Author: Marianne Berkes
Illustrations: Jennifer DiRubbio

Being mother to an animal-obsessed child, I've always wished the Brat would expand his horizons, so to speak. Read more fiction than fact, learn more about relationships, unsolved mysteries, understand urges and human desires through the medium of books and so on. And I've been proved wrong more than once, as he shows me his own way of doing it. One doesn't need to read fiction to understand the urges that run common to humans and animals. Hunger, shelter, the desire to go home.

For instance, this book by Marianne Berkes took us on a journey across the globe, following the migration paths of Loggerhead turtles, Monarch butterflies, Manatees, Ruby-throated hummingbirds,  Pacific salmon, Canadian geese, Arctic terns and Caribou, to name just a few.

Written in verse, in the voice of each migrant creature, it is a book easily used by young readers, while a separate little box of text gives you additional facts. Where do they come from? Where do they go? What do they do along the way? Presented in a way that makes it far from pedantic, the patterns emerge for children to see the similarities without adult help. Why do creatures move to warmer climes? Where do they procreate? Why do they make these choices? Or as my son wanted to know, is this also why colder countries have sparse population and warmer countries such as ours are so heavily populated? I love that it made him think on those lines.

It's interesting to see how even animals are drawn to take the same routes their ancestors took before them for centuries. To see how your roots beckon and take you back home even if only by instinct. To wonder over how they navigate their way across oceans without the help of a compass. For a family such as ours, with four generations of inter-marriage, there is no call to the roots and reading about this is fascinating.

Each double spread is beautifully illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio, marrying poetry and art dexterously and seamlessly. A former teacher and school librarian, it is no wonder that author Marianne Berkes has provided invaluable teaching aids at the back of the book. Turn to the end for the creatures' migratory routes marked out across a map, additional reading matter, websites and activity ideas to support the book. All in all, a fabulous read.


Sheela said...

Beautiful book indeed, TMM, thanks for sharing it here!

One of the free downloadable activities (pdf) for this book, available at Dawn Publications, has some very interesting activities suggested by the author. Our favorite was the "Who Am I?" and the creative non-fiction story example. The downloadable map without the migration routes is a fantastic tool to work on after reading this book!

sandhya said...

Sounds lovely, MM. A book about animals, in verse, sounds just about perfect for the brat. Thank you for bringing this to CROCUS.

ranjani.sathish said...

Beautiful review, MM and the cover page looks so atrractive. I am sure it will be a treat for the kids.

Liked what you said about facts/fiction...everyone has their own way of getting to know, what they need to know :-)

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