Mike Unwin and Jenni Desmond
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Mike Unwin documents the migratory journeys of twenty animals large and small, from the monarch butterfly to the great white shark
and the African elephant to the Southern pilchard, all of which travel incredible distances due to the seasonal changes to the environment in which they live. They move in pursuit of food, to escape bad weather or hostile environmental conditions, or in search of a suitable place to breed.
Each of the animals featured is allocated a double spread impressively illustrated by Jenni Desmond; and there’s a world map showing all the migrations at the back of the book.
Just imagine weighing less than a lump of sugar and having to fly 800km across the ocean like the ruby-throated hummingbird. Come spring, these iridescent birds leave their tropical winter home in Central America, fly across the Gulf of Mexico, north to North America, even as far north as Canada, where they breed, nesting somewhere in woods, a garden or park.
I was amazed to read the fascinating details about green marine sea turtles, which sometimes weigh as much as two humans and migrate across the Atlantic to breed on Ascension Island.
Unwin’s accounts are beautifully, at times poetically written, while Jenni Desmond’s illustrations make you want to linger long over each one enjoying the form, details and individual beauty of each animal portrayed.