This compact little book, presented in a nature diary format, explains how creatures adapt to their environments and make incredible journeys ‘some stretching thousands of miles, others covering only a matter of inches’. It is organised in four sections: Miraculous Migrations; Water World; Blowing Hot and Cold; Animal Antics. Each spread is attractively designed avoiding clutter but providing interesting information in text and illustrations. The writing is clear and inviting: the creators of this book know that young readers respond to the dramatic and fascinating rather than the bland and predictable. Children might be surprised to find out that the way in which these epic journeys are managed ‘is still a mystery to scientists’ although such things as landmarks and the Sun and stars seem to help. Children like records and learn here that the Arctic tern is the ‘super-commuter’ flying the huge distance from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back again each year – the longest migration of all. Children also love to encounter new terms and here they will come across ‘smoltification’ – a process which enables salmon to adapt to sea water after their early years in rivers and ‘ murmuration’ which describes a group of starlings diving and rushing through the air in their tens of thousands.
The illustrations, brightly coloured and using a strong line, do justice to each creature- the detailed patterns and markings on the animals are a strong feature. There is a beautiful image of a flock of monarch butterflies showing the black patterning on warm orange wings as they cling together for warmth on a tree. And there are subtle markings on the shells of female baby green turtles as they make a moonlight journey to lay their eggs. Text and pictures combine to fire young imaginations and I feel sure this book will inspire children’s discussion, writing, drawing and lead to further reading.