thoughts turning north

The Big Snuggle Up, by Brian Patten, illustrated by Nicola Bayley
A rhyming story of a little boy who invites a scarecrow in from the snow, ensuing action is other animals requesting to come in too. I like the idea of the book; however, I felt that the choice of animals was a little strange: owl, fox, heron, donkey, lamb, fawn, dog, cat, rabbit, squirrel, robin, butterfly and mouse. I wanted Patten to stick with a theme: barn animals, animals that normally hibernate, whatever. I also was a little creeped out by the scarecrow--he looks a little too clownish for me; however, these are moot points; kids will enjoy the flow of the story, the rote repetition of the animals (as more are introduced), and the lovely illustrations.
Age: Preschool-K/1

North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration, by Nick Dowson, Illustrated by Patrick Benson
As its name suggests, a book which chronicles arctic migration, both its animals and what seems to be happening to the earth itself,
"Across its frozen seas,
tiny algae begins to bloom
on the undersides of ice,
coloring it golden brown,
while on land, plants creep up
through melting snow,
turning the tundra green." (Pg. 8)

It's hard not to be more than a little jealous of the gray whales who make their journeys yearly past L.A., SanFran, Vancouver Island, then on to the Arctic Circle--the whales are just one of the many animals featured in their migrations north. One of the things which I appreciated about this book is that Dowson covered animals that you think of, when you think of the Arctic, and animals that you wouldn't know to think of. I also loved the facts that I learned from this book, like, did you know: gray whale swim over 5,000 miles to get to the arctic?!

North will prove to be a great resource for elementary age kids--exactly the kind of story that is interesting and paired with gorgeous illustrations to boot! I give this a huge A+!

Ages: 2nd grade-up.

The Washington Post had a great and more thorough review of North, here.

For interesting facts on the Arctic, click here.

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