________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 16 . . . . April 15, 2005


Animals Migrating: How, When, Where and Why Animals Migrate.

Etta Kaner. Illustrated by Pat Stephens.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2005.
40 pp., pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55337-548-3 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55337-547-5 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Animal migration-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4


A thermal is a column of warm air that rises from the ground or water on a sunny day. A thermal can rise many thousands of feet into the sky, and soaring birds can rise with it. When a thermal cools and stops rising birds pull their wings in a bit to move quickly down to the next thermal. By moving from one thermal to the next, a bird can fly several hundred kilometers (miles) a day using very little energy.

To most people, animal migration means the annual movement of groups of animals to warmer climates for the purpose of finding food or giving birth in a more favourable environment. Animals Migrating, however, explains a variety of migration types, some of which might seem too insignificant to be considered true migration, yet zoologists support the findings presented here. Following a brief introduction, the book is divided into five chapters featuring mammals, birds, insects, sea life, and reptiles and amphibians. Several examples of different kinds of migration are given in each of the chapters. Readers will learn which animals migrate alone or in small or large groups, the purpose of the migration (e.g. to leave the family nest and start a home of one’s own), and the many signposts that animals use to help them find their way along the migration route. Such techniques include remembering landmarks, following the sun’s (or the stars’) path, and taking advantage of the earth’s magnetic field.

     Not all migration is cyclical. Some trips are one-way only, as is the case with aphids and other insects. Up and down migration is common on the ocean, where sea creatures, like zooplankton, swim to the surface at night to feed and descend to the bottom in the morning to avoid predators. One strange example of migration is the palolo worm whose tail is the only part of its body that migrates. The tail carries the worm’s eggs to the surface of the ocean while the rest of the worm stays in its burrow.

     Throughout the book are fact boxes highlighting the migratory habits and patterns of certain animals- lemmings, arctic terns, dragonflies, salmon and red-bellied newts. As well, there are several experiments to try (using materials readily available in most households), each of them focusing on a scientific concept related to animal survival. Some of the experiments are better than others from the comprehension aspect. For example, very young readers will be able to understand quite easily the concept of fish bladders or blubber, but might find the sun and magnetic field experiments slightly beyond their grasp. The text is large, simple and easy to comprehend and engages the reader by the use of questions in the body of the text and fact boxes which ask readers to imagine that they are a particular animal. Illustrations, rendered in watercolour, are lifelike and attractive and suit the text. A table of contents and an index are provided.


Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird’s Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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