BooksForKidsBlog

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nonfiction That Makes the Grade: Great Migrations: Amazing Animal Journeys by Laura Marsh

WHEN ANIMALS TRAVEL FROM ONE REGION OR CLIMATE TO ANOTHER, IT IS CALLED MIGRATION.

MIGRATION HELPS ANIMALS SURVIVE ON EARTH.

MANY ANIMALS MIGRATE. THIS BOOK IS ABOUT ZEBRAS, RED CRABS, AND WALRUSES. THEIR GREAT MIGRATIONS ARE INCREDIBLE JOURNEYS.


When it comes to making the many mysteries of animal behavior understandable, National Geographic has no peer, as in Laura Marsh's brand-new National Geographic Readers: Great Migrations Amazing Animal Journeys (National Geographic Kids, 2010). Migration is one of the seeming miracles of life on earth. How do animals know when and where to go to find the right habitat at the right time? How do they "remember" where and when to make such travels? What forces within or without guide them on these incredible journeys?

Marsh's newest Level 3 beginning reader takes on this explanation for three very different animals with very different needs from their environment. Zebras travel nearly 400 miles through Botswana following good grazing conditions; red crabs, land crabs of the Christian Islands of the Pacific and the northwest coast of Australia, move to their breeding grounds in such numbers that they sometimes require "Crab Crossing" signs on the local roads and climb 40-foot cliffs as they make their annual mass migration; and walruses move through the Bering Straits from the Bering Sea to the Chukchi Sea seeking lasting ice floes to support their own marine lifestyle.

A well-designed and appealing little volume, this one has well-placed text boxes to explain concepts and terms encountered in the narration, and like all National Geographic products, its large, clear color photos are worth a thousand words in portraying content to young readers. A very useful picture glossary defines and illustrates terms such as "predator," "instinct," and "larvae" introduced in and crucial to the meaning of Marsh's simple but informative text.

Whether used to supplement classroom units or to satisfy the curiosity of young animal lovers, National Geographic Readers: Great Migrations Amazing Animal Journeys and other National Geographic Kids books in this series, such as Elizabeth Carney's Great Migrations: Whales, Wildebeests, Butterflies, Elephants, and Other Amazing Animals on the Move (National Geographic Kids) and Marsh's National Geographic Readers: Great Migrations Butterflies are super brain-builders which help beginning readers "make the grade" in elementary science.

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