cover image The Journey: Stories of Migration

The Journey: Stories of Migration

Cynthia Rylant, , illus. by Lambert Davis. . Scholastic/Blue Sky, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-590-30717-8

Rylant (The Stars Will Still Rise ) again shows her versatility with this picturesque work exploring the migratory habits of a half dozen creatures. Each one—locust, gray whale, American silver eel, monarch butterfly, caribou and Arctic tern—gets a chapter detailing its round trip and the reasons for the journey. Rylant's fluid prose—which defines baleen (what serves as teeth for whales) just as smoothly as it describes the reason for a monarch's milkweed diet—incorporates many interesting facts (e.g., "Locusts fly very high—as high as two miles up in the sky—and this can make difficult flying for planes"). With exclamation points ("And the noise of all those hooves! It is both frightening and thrilling," Rylant says of the caribou) and italicized words ("Sometimes there are millions of butterflies flying together"), the narrative draws readers in with a tone of wonderment and respect for what the author calls these "remarkable travelers." She describes the hardships along their migratory routes, and their physical attributes come to light in Davis's (Swimming with Dolphins ) carefully detailed paintings. Using multiple perspectives, his vivid images depict each animal in its habitat (e.g., readers see a sky-darkening swarm of locusts over the African landscape, as well as a close-up of the insect's segmented body, amber eyes and spotted wings). Though some may wish for maps to see just how far the subjects' travels take them, this title may well prompt youngsters to further study of these fascinating migrations. Ages 7-10. (Feb.)