Swanfall: Journey of the Tundra Swans

Tom Horton, Author, Dave Harp, Photographer Walker & Company $15.95 (42p) ISBN 978-0-8027-8106-2
The tundra swans split their year between the wetlands of Alaska's North Slope in summer and Chesapeake Bay in winter--with an intense migratory marathon linking the two habitats. ``Swanfall'' refers to ``the glorious return of the swans'' to their winter home, when ``the birds seem almost to drop from the sky.'' In an attempt to document this nearly 4000-mile odyssey, environmental journalist Horton crams his book with so many extraneous details that the beauty of the migration is lost. Swanfall uses very dense imagery and vocabulary--``chevron,'' ``skirling''--that are beyond the intended audience. Changes in point of view prove confusing, and the writing itself frequently is awkward and overblown--the swans' cries ``caused people in the city streets to pause and look skyward, held for a moment by a feeling so old and deep they could not explain it much better than the dogs could their barking.'' While Harp's photographs are striking, their repetition and similarity may dull rather than stimulate viewers' enthusiasm. Ages 7-10. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
Library Binding - 42 pages - 978-0-8027-8107-9
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