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Going Home, The Mystery of Animal Migration

This book has received two wonderful endorsements:
"The wonders of animal migration will captivate young readers as they read about tiny hummingbirds that fly across the Gulf of Mexico, sea turtles that return to a special beach after years at sea, and other amazing feats. Children will be caught up in the mysteries of these animal navigators, presented clearly and accurately." — Professor James L. Gould, Princeton University, and Dr. Carol Grant Gould, co-authors of the Animal Mind and other animal behavior books.

"We all see animals for a season or two, perhaps in our own backyard, and then they're gone. We don't think of where they came from or where they go. This book, with its magical poetry, beautiful illustrations, and enlightening information will give children a new appreciation of these animals and their amazing journeys."
— Don Salvatore, Science Educator at the Museum of Science, Boston, and author, Backyard Biology Web Site

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NSTA Recommends
Reviewed by Juliana Texley
NSTA Web Field Editor

Poetry on each double-page spread of graphic art makes this beautiful book one you will want to share aloud. A second level of text provides background for the reader, making this an ideal book to read again and again. It was recognized as an NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2011.

The migrations of sea turtles, monarchs, manatees, and other animals are described in poetry and prose. Students who listen carefully and observe the photos will be challenged to determine what's similar and different among the many migrating animals, from geese to gray whales. Why do they travel so far? There are clues in the poetry and some details in the supporting text. A great double-page spread map shows the route each animal follows. Perhaps the most valuable part of the book is the appendix, with a short section on the mystery of migration, a list of websites, and extra details about each species (written at an adult level).

National Geographic produced a theme issue of the magazine, a television special, and individual leveled paperbacks on this topic. Tips for extension assignments, which are included, are diverse and valuable. Students who use this book will gain a rich understanding of migration as an adaptive behavior, and they will share the wonder that shows in each poetic page.

Review posted on 12/1/2010

School Library Journal--May 2010
“Teachers especially will welcome this poetic look at animal migration patterns. Ten critters, ranging from Canada geese to caribou and loggerhead turtles, celebrate their “going home” with a rhyme, a small paragraph of information, and a colorful, realistic illustration spreading across facing pages. A large map helps readers follow migratory patterns, and a closing section contains a look at the “mystery” of migration, further data on the creatures in focus, and a handy-dandy passel of suggestions, such as to “Write Your Own Story” about an animal not included in this book. Similar in scope to Berkes’s Over in the Arctic (2008) and Over in the Jungle (2007, both Dawn), the book is a pleasant way to tie creative writing and natural history in a simple package.”

Midwest Book Review, March 20, 2010
"Going Home, The Mystery of Animal Migration" is a book of clear and clever poetry that tells all about different animals' migration habits, patterns, and history. Each animal described is illustrated in a two page painting, a memorable descriptive verse, and additional information about the animal is presented in a paragraph at the bottom of the page. At the end of the book is a color coded list of the animals and their migration routes shown on a map of the world to further explain the amazing migratory patterns of the ten animals included. Additional books, websites, and movies are listed along with further information about teach animal species, and further tips from the author give good activity suggestions for further learning about animal migration. Designed to appeal to the elementary student, "Going Home" is a valuable resource for students, parents and teachers interested in learning more about animal migration."

Booklist, March 2010
"This introduction to animals’ migratory habits functions almost more as a comprehensive lesson plan than as a straightforward picture book. Poems written from the point of view of migrating animals themselves, accompanied by brief facts, are followed by extensive back matter including additional information about each of the animals, a map showing migratory paths, suggested books and Web sites, information about migration itself, and extended activities. Although much of the back matter will be of interest primarily to educators, the poetry and illustrations are child-friendly and should pique and hold young zoologists’ interest. The animals featured are ones that children know: turtles, monarch butterflies, and whales, among others. The poems feature accessible vocabulary and carry the theme “Going home, going home” throughout. Softly colored double-page spreads use a variety of perspectives to show the animals both close-up and in the context of their environments..."

Foreward Review, March 2010:
"A winning combination of verse, factual language, and beautiful illustrations that describe the mysterious migration patterns of animals from loggerhead turtles to monarch butterflies to ruby-throated hummingbirds to caribou. Resources at the end of the book include Web sites to learn more about the featured animals, and several lesson and activity ideas for educators."

Kirkus Reviews April 2010
"A creative-nonfiction look at animal migration. Each spread focuses on one animal, describing both its journey and the reason behind it – the change of season, to give birth or to search for food and water. An additional paragraph rounds out the information presented in the rhyming verses . . . The animals include a good mix of fauna from land, sea and air, and many will be familiar to readers. A final spread combines the migration routes of all the animals on a map focused on North America. DiRubbio’s realistic artwork places each animal in its own environment, complete with the surrounding colors and flora. While highlighting the individual animal “speaking” in the verses, she also depicts whether the animal is usually a part of a herd or solitary. Extensive backmatter features more facts about migration, a paragraph of further information about each animal, some activity ideas from the author including another example of creative-nonfiction writing and a list of resources for learning more about the animals presented. A solid introductory look at animal migration in a form that the youngest readers will appreciate.” February 2010
"How would you feel if you had to travel from New York to California and back--every year--without the aid of cars, trains, or airplanes? Yet some animals do just that sort of thing. They migrate, sometimes up to thousands of miles, by water, air, or land, for various reasons: to raise their young, to stay warm, or to find food. The monarch butterflies which fly from the north to California or Mexico, the California gray whales which swim from the waters off California and Mexico to the Bering Sea, and the caribou or reindeer of the tundra which travel over 1,000 miles using the same routes every year, are just three of the ten animals whose migrations are described poetically in Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration, which is another "Sharing Nature With Children Book" from Dawn Publications.
Author Marianne Berkes, whose Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef and Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme, also from Dawn Publications, I have reviewed previously, uses what she calls "creative non-fiction," enhanced with the lovely, colorful illustrations by Jennifer DiRubbio, to introduce children to the wonders of animal migration. The text is certainly entertaining, but the educational benefit is augmented by six pages in the back with further information about the mystery of migration; how to learn more about the animals with books, websites, and movies; additional facts about the migrating animals; and tips from the author which include checking the Dawn Publications website to find "Educator Tools" for Going Home. In addition to learning about the animals, there is some geography here too, with a map showing the different animals' migration routes. This is a fascinating book that parents and teachers will find very useful." --Wayne S. Walker