________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 22 . . . . June 27, 2008


It's Moving Day.

Pamela Hickman. Illustrated by Geraldo Valério.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2008.
32 pp., hardcover, $17.95.
ISBN 978-1-55453-074-8.

Subject Headings:
Burrowing animals-Juvenile literature.
Soil animals-Juvenile literature.
Animals-Habitations-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Jessica Peterson.

*** /4


The empty burrow is just what the milk snake is looking for. As the days grow cooler, more snakes gather to share the winter shelter. Under the snowy ground, the snakes sleep in a heap for the winter. The sleeping snakes are woken by the warm spring sun. They slither away from the burrow to search for food. It's moving Day!"


This beautifully illustrated picture book introduces a number of forest animals and their roles in hibernation and burrowing. Hickman's story line explores the changing of seasons and the different animals that inhabit a specific burrow during these changes. This approach introduces children to the names of both the adult and baby animals and the vocabulary involved in their life cycles. As one family leaves, another arrives on that family's moving day to occupy the burrow, thereby allowing for constant change in the story line. Following the theme of life cycles, It's Moving Day offers a glimpse of the cycles of seasons, shown in the movement of families according to the seasons to which they are best suited, and also the cycles of nature that one can see when the first inhabitant of the burrow returns for a six month stay at the end of the book.

internal art

     Hickman's choice of language is well suited to the intended age range, and she introduces a large vocabulary for children or students learning about hibernation and/or life cycles of woodland creatures, such as the raccoons that 'cuddled together' to stay warm for the winter, or the milk snakes that 'sleep in a heap' in their 'winter shelter.' Also, for readers who may want more in-depth information on these woodland animals, after the last page of the story, there is a brief write-up on each of the animals which explains their physical traits, when they give birth, information about their babies and the animals' hibernation patterns. The vocabulary introduces the movement and hibernation of animals without overwhelming the young readers with complex words that they may be unsure of. Overall, a great introduction to woodland animals and/or hibernation.

     The illustrations accompanying the text of It's Moving Day are very rich and playful. The illustrator, Geraldo Valério, has made wonderful use of what seems to be acrylic paints. The colours of the forest, as well as its inhabitants, are vibrant and at the same time soft enough to represent the fluffy fur of a skunk or the smooth skin of a salamander. Valério has made use of all of the space available, filling up the entire page with warm colours of the woodlands. Although the story revolves around a burrow, Valério chooses to illustrate the burrow's surrounding area in every illustration, bringing to life the changing of seasons. Valério has also chosen to make a fun guessing game through his pictures which allow the reader to search for hints of the burrows next inhabitant. Definitely very fun, vibrant and informative illustrations.


Jessica Peterson is a student in the Early Years Education Program at University of Manitoba. She holds a degree in Fine Arts and is currently student teaching in a Nursery/Kindergarten classroom in Winnipeg, 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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