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Here Come The Humpbacks!


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In this latest book by acclaimed science writer April Pulley Sayre, young readers follow along as a mother humpback whale and her calf make their annual trek from the warm waters of the Caribbean to their summer feeding grounds off the coast of New England and back again. Within this extraordinary story of migration, Sayre provides information about how humpback whales breathe, sing, and how they got their name a secondary layer of text expands upon the more intricate details. But aside from the basics about the humpback whale species, HERE COME THE HUMPBACKS! also delves into the dangers these whales face from other mammals and sea life such as hungry orcas, to man-made threats like pollution and giant ships. Jamie Hogan's stunning, rich pastel illustrations complement Sayre's text beautifully, and make this book a great choice for a read-aloud in the classroom, library, or at home.


In a story about a humpback whale calf, Sayre balances informative text with polished prose that lightly personifies the animals: "Head down, in deeper water, a male whale sings. His song rhymes and repeats. All the male whales in the area know this year's song-yet they vary it, like jazz musicians onstage." As mother and calf move from the shallows into the open ocean, they encounter other creatures and objects, which Sayre introduces in offset text about whale-watching tours, barnacles, suckerfish, chemical pollution, and more. Hogan's charcoal and pastel illustrations subtly vary texture, light, and shades of blue to convey the changes in the submarine environment as the whales travel. Ages 4-7. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Gr 1-3-This picture book about a year in the life of a humpback mother and calf is beautifully illustrated in soft charcoal pencil and pastel on sanded paper. A varying perspective-from eye level, below, and above the water level-places the whales in context with their environment and other wildlife. The narrative of the growth and development of the newborn male calf flows on the left side of each spread as he thrives in the warm Caribbean Sea. Brief explanations and information on the recto expand upon the story with factual information. The perils of life and migration are objectively presented, including man-made dangers of pollution and marine traffic and dangers from the humpbacks' fierce natural enemy, the orca, and even other humpbacks. All ends well for the mother and son as they make their way through the dangers to their summer feeding grounds off the coast of New England. The stunning art and well-presented information make this an attractive addition to any collection.-Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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