I like to think that I have completed some epic journeys. I have travelled overland from Ho Chi Min, Viet Nam, to London, UK. I have flown from England to Australia on many occasions. But these pale in comparison to those of the yearly journeys of some amazing animals.
Imagine having to move home every year, not through choice but in order to survive. To find food, to escape predators, to breed, to find cooler or warmer temperatures, this is the situation that many animals find themselves in. And so, every year animals big and small move from place to place. Traversing land, rivers, ice, seas, oceans, forests, mountains and deserts they embark on epic journeys across the world. With no sat-nav or google maps to guide them, they rely on their extraordinary sense of direction, with many returning to the same places year on year.
Migrations are an essential part of survival, staying still would mean certain death. In this superb non-fiction book, Mike Unwin reveals the fascinating journeys of twenty-two incredible animals. From the the monarch butterfly that takes four generations to complete its two-way migration, to the Arctic tern who completes a staggering seventy-seven-thousand kilometre migration from pole to pole, the longest of any animal. Readers are introduced to a host of different animals that swim, slide, trek, run, stomp, scuttle, flutter and flap their way across the world.
Laugh at the emperor penguins who - when their feet become tired from walking - flop onto their tummies and slide across the ice (this is apparently known as tobogganing), marvel at the ten million star-coloured fruit bats who migrate to the Kasanka Forest, an area the size of four football pitches, and have a whale of a time with the humpback whale whose migration sees it complete the longest swim of any animal on Earth. I constantly found myself being amazed by what I was reading and was regularly sharing the facts and feats with my wife.
Each animal is presented over a double page. Stunning artwork by Jenni Desmond displays the animals as they migrate and Unwin’s rich and informative text is accessible and perfectly pitched for young readers. He expertly explains the reasons for migration, how long it takes and the migration route. A map at the end clearly indicates the migration paths that each of the featured animals takes.
A truly incredible book with breath-taking illustrations. Readers will be left wowed by the remarkable journeys that animals make and will be sharing the stories with anyone that will listen. One of the best non-fiction books I have read.
Recommended for 8+.