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Friday, August 31, 2018

We Travel So Far ... Words by Laura Knowles and pictures by Chris Madden. Firefly Books, 2017. $19.95 ages 5 and up

"We are the Caribou, 
the thick-furred travelers
of the icy north.

Every year, in long and
winding lines, we journey
further than any other
animal on four legs.

With our wide and padded
feet, we walk in each other's
footprints to keep out ... "

It is always interesting for young readers to learn more about the animals they know, and those they do not. In this book that deals only with migration, they will learn the stories of 26 such creatures. The author begins with a two page introduction.

"These are the sort of journeys
that we call "migration."
Often, animals migrate with the changing seasons.
Some travel to find food, while others are driven to
migrate to the perfect place to mate and raise their
babies. For most migrating animals, all these
reasons play a part.
The urge to migrate is instinctive:
it is hard-wired in them from the moment
they are born."

Each is given a two page spread, placing minimal, informative text over a clearly drawn illustration of each animal in its own particular environment. The text begins with the swimmers: leatherback turtles, humpback whales, sockeye salmon, Caribbean spiny lobsters, elephant seals, and European eels. On to the flyers, and finally to earth dwellers. Some entries will be unexpected. There is variety in the accurate and enlightening accompanying artwork. Children will find much to hold their attention here. 

The animals narrate their own stories, and the prose is full of relevancy. They tell where their travels will take them and why they have undertaken such a journey. The first person narrative gives a real feeling of immediacy for those reading it. The migrations happen all around the world, are shared with little fanfare, and offer just the right amount of information to satisfy most readers. Those who want to know more have a place to begin.

A map of the world is provided, and suggests that readers might take the time to plot out where each of animals migrates. It is followed by water, air and land migration data for each of the animals included.

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