Animals Migrating: How, When, Where and Why Animals Migrate
Author: Etta Kaner; Illustrator: Pat Stephens
Pages: 40
Publisher/Date: Kids Can Press/2005
ISBN: 1553375475
Age Levels: 9-12

Book Review

Did you know that scientists used to think that animals migrated only when the seasons changed? "This is true of some animals, like the gray whale," writes Kaner, "but many animals, like the dragonfish, migrate every day. Scientists also thought migratory animals . . . always returned to their homes. But some animals, like army ants and locusts, just keep on moving."

In addition to dispelling out-dated notions concerning animal migration, Kaner does a marvelous job of explaining and exploring in a conversational tone the diversity of migration. Readers learn, for instance, that animals migrate in different ways. "Mammals may migrate back and forth, in one direction or even in a circle. They may migrate by themselves, like foxes, or in small groups, like gray whales. Some, like zebras and Norway lemmings, migrate with thousands of others."

Kaner does an especially fine job of bringing the reader into the text. In some sections she asks a leading question. In "Leaving Home" she begins with, "How old will you be when you move out of your family home? 19? 21? 25? Many mammals are only a few months old when they migrate to set up homes of their own." At other times she makes a startling statement that grabs the reader and pulls him or her in. In "One-Way Trips" she writes: "Picture this. You’re hungry. You open the fridge to find it empty. You open the kitchen cupboards. No food. Instead of going to the store, you move to another house. In fact, you do this every time you run out of food. That’s what life is like for many migrating insects."

The book is divided into five chapters: Mammals, Birds, Insects, Sea Life, Reptile and Amphibians. Each chapter discusses the migration habits of three or more animals as well as provides an experiment for students to try. After reading about the migration of gray whales, for example, readers are presented with an experiment titled "Beautiful Blubber" that demonstrates how blubber acts as an insulator, keeping the whales warm even in icy waters.

Also included throughout are sidebars which cite facts about particular animals. The sidebar "If you were a salmon . . .," for example, lists four interesting facts about the fish. An index is appended.

The bold, colorful, realistic illustrations are done in watercolors and enrich the text.

Animals Migrating definitely deserves a place on your classroom or library bookshelf. It is beautifully designed, well-written, informative, and entertaining. Perfect for report writing, reference, and independent reading.

Classroom Use: We took the book into a fourth-grade classroom that was in the middle of a unit on birds. After reading aloud the section on birds, we tried the experiment "Rising Air" which demonstrates how large birds can stay airborne with the help of thermals. The students enjoyed both the book and the experiment.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2005 Education Oasis

About the Author

Etta Kaner is a teacher and an award-winning author. Her books include Animals Groups, Animals at Work, and Animal Defense. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

About the Illustrator

Pat Stephens is an illustrator who lives in Durham, Ontario. Her previous books include Animal Groups, Animals at Work, and Animal Senses.


You may read an interview with the author at Kids Can Press.