O’Sullivan invites readers to join North American animals who regularly take to the “Herptile Highway,” the “Polar Bear Parkway,” “Bison Boulevard,” or “Salmon Street.”
Whether driven by seasonal changes in food sources, the “need to breed,” or, like monarch butterflies, more mysterious urges, some animals travel hundreds or even thousands of miles over cyclical routes. The author highlights a dozen creatures and mentions others. She marvels at the seemingly miraculous navigation skills of salmon and gray whales and sounds ominous notes about rapidly declining populations of monarchs and polar bears; she describes efforts to create safer crossings over paved roads for migratory snakes and amphibians (“herptiles”) in Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest and migration corridors through fenced-in land for pronghorn antelopes in Wyoming and elsewhere. Along with maps and photos aplenty, she tucks in kid-friendly factual snippets about each creature, as well as specific locations where each can be observed on its habitual round. Though many of the photographs go uncaptioned and so add little beyond eye candy, this broad and breezy overview will stimulate young animal lovers’ “need to read” about one of the natural world’s behavioral wonders.
Budding biologists who have taken first steps with the likes of Marianne Bertes’ Going Home: The Mysteries of Animal Migration, illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio (2010), will find themselves drawn further down that road. (Nonfiction. 10-13)