CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 10. . . .January 9, 2009
The Peregrine's Journey: A Story of Migration.
Madeleine Dunphy. Illustrated by Kristin Kest.
Berkeley, CA: Web of Life Children's Books (Distributed in Canada by Publishers Group Canada), 2008.
32 pp., pbk., $9.95.
Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.
Review by Rosemary Hollett.
Finally, the time has come for her to leave. She takes one last look at her Alaska home, and then begins her migration south. She will fly all the way from Alaska to Argentina-a distance of more than 8,000 miles. It will take her about two months. If you tried walking that far, it would take you more than three years!
The Peregrine's Journey: A Story of Migration is based on the migration of a real peregrine falcon that was tracked via satellite telemetry by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from its summer residence in Alaska to its wintering grounds in Argentina, over 8,000 miles away.
The author, Madeleine Dunphy, begins the book by describing the events in September that signal the peregrine that it's time to migrate. When the bird begins her migration, Dunphy tells how the peregrine uses her instinct and her excellent eyesight to identify mountains and rivers that guide her on her way south.
Each double page spread highlights the peregrine's arrival in a new territory She visits many areas including the Yukon, British Columbia, Utah, Texas, Panama, and Brazil. On each stop, readers learn new and interesting facts about the peregrine falcon, including how instinct and her amazing eyesight guide her way; and how she hunts pigeons, doves and other birds for nourishment. There are dangers to face along the way as well – strong winds may blow her off course and a predator, the great horned owl, flies closely by.
Illustrator, Kristin Kest, uses oil paint to create abundant illustrations with visual appeal. There is lots of attention to detail, and Kest has captured the natural charm and allure of the peregrine falcon.
A labeled map, included at the beginning of the book, acts as a table of contents as well. At the end of the book, there is additional information and a list of web sites to visit. I actually enjoyed this section almost as much as the book, itself, as it is filled with interesting facts, such as "The name 'peregrine' means wanderer, and the peregrine falcon has one of the longest migrations of any North American bird" and "The bird in this book is a 'tundra peregrine'" and finally, "most peregrine falcons don't migrate." Teachers should be sure to include this closing section in their discussions with students.
The Peregrine's Journey provides a wealth of information about the peregrine falcon and bird migration. However, this journey lacks a sense of excitement. It is difficult for the reader to "bond" with the peregrine. As a result, the book would be better shelved with nonfiction titles covering similar subjects.
Rosemary Hollett is the librarian at St. Emile School in Winnipeg.
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