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NORTH by Nick Dowson Kirkus Star


The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration

by Nick Dowson & illustrated by Patrick Benson

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5271-5
Publisher: Candlewick

In the dark Arctic winters, few species can survive, but in short, lush summers, millions of animals return to reproduce.

This combination of lyrical prose and striking illustrations conveys the mystery and magic of the far North and the cycle of darkness and rebirth that includes some astonishing migratory journeys. Dowson's examples come from all over the world: Atlantic and Pacific whales, terns and jaegers from South America, godwits from New Zealand and cranes from China as well as Canadian caribou. His simple, poetic text is set alongside or between Benson's ink, pencil and watercolor paintings, done in icy blues, grays and greens. The creatures are clearly identifiable but often seen through water or snow or from afar, against vast landscapes. Usually there are many, in schools, herds, flocks—this is an emptiness that teems with life for a short while. Six spreads have no text at all, encouraging contemplation and reflection. The backmatter locates the Arctic Ocean and ice cap in Asia, North America and Europe with both text and a map, and the illustrator has included two Atlantic-centered images of Earth from space that dramatize the extent of these journeys.

Simple but effective, this is a beautiful introduction to a remarkable region that should encourage any child’s sense of wonder. (index) (Informational picture book. 7-10)