Animal migrations offer an opportunity to see hundreds or thousands of the same species gathered in one place.
Spread by spread, in short paragraphs of straightforward exposition set on illustrations showing the animals in their habitats, Cohn describes when, where and why a sampling of North American mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, amphibians and even invertebrates come together and move. Some migrations are familiar—monarch butterflies and sandhill cranes—and others may be surprising in this context, like the nightly movement of bats from a cave or the gathering of snakes in their winter dens. Species linked on the food chain may be described together: the horseshoe crabs and red knots who feed on their eggs; salmon and bald eagles. The author makes an effort to enliven these descriptions with interesting verbs. Salamanders “squiggle across fields.” Chimney swifts “chitter and chatter.” But sometimes word choice trumps facts. Because horseshoe crabs aren’t really crabs, they don’t “scuttle out of the bay.” They crawl, very slowly. Combined with the extra facts in the backmatter curiously labeled as “For Creative Minds,” these informational bits may help young learners broaden their understanding of animal migration, but they won’t deepen it. For that, teachers will want to turn to titles about specific species or the Seymour Simon and Elsa Warnick series that includes They Swim the Seas (1998).
An additional resource only. (Nonfiction. 5-9)