Amazing Animal Journeys by Jennifer Cossins
This book was part of the Notable list for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Awards – Eve Pownall Award for Information Books.
Focuses on twenty-five animal species from Australia and around the world with intriguing migration journeys. Did you know that Arctic terns have the longest migration of all birds, flying from the Arctic to Antarctica and back each year? Or that the wildebeest migration in east Africa is so vast it can be seen from outer space? Come along on these amazing animal journeys!
Each double-page spread in the book deals with a different animal and their journey or migration.
For some, like the Monarch Butterfly they will only experience one part of the journey that their species carries out:
It takes the monarchs four or five entire generations to complete the migration back to their northern home, with each generation only living for around six weeks.
And as the introduction mentions these migrations are amazing and fascinating and while many are well documented it doesn’t explain things like these amazing butterflies which were not even alive at the beginning of the migration but somehow lay eggs that hatch into caterpillars, that transform into butterflies that know where to fly next.
Migrations are often dangerous and we, as humans who want to control the natural environment, often make it harder by encroaching on the habitats that these animals need to survive. Removing human obstacles wouldn’t make these journeys safe (just safer) however because the animals also have to face predators and other dangers along the way. Take the wildebeest or gnu for example they have to cross the Mara River twice during their migration (which can be seen from space) even though the river is full of crocodiles and patrolled by lions.
Humans aren’t always a hinderance though, sometimes we aim to help as well – on Christmas Island the migration of the Christmas Island Red Crab has led to the building of crab tunnels, bridges and even the closing of roads. Here in Cockburn, you may have seen the possum bridges that have been installed to help our native possums make their own journeys around local bush areas.
I ended up reading about almost every migration in this book, it’s fascinating. I would recommend the book to everyone, no matter age or specific animal interest.
Jennifer Cossins has written a book that is simple, there isn’t a lot of complicating information – it deals with the migration, where, how long, some issues the animals face, some cool facts. Simple but comprehensive so you feel like you know more than you did before and haven’t missed anything. If you want more information, you know what animals to start with and the library is a great place to find the next book to read that will have more information. In addition, it has beautiful illustrations. I think my favourite might be the bogong moth (an Australian moth that has stunning detail in the illustration and should be more protected than it is (a great pollinator and a native moth)). Anyone who has enjoyed one of Jennifer’s books before will know how stunning they are – and if you keep up with these awards each year, she will be a familiar name. The end papers (the ones on the very inside cover of the book (back and front)) show a map of the world with the journey of different animals laid out. From this you can see that the journey of the humpback whale is the one you are closest to geographically here in Perth.
This book would also make a wonderful gift for the future animal lovers and biologists and climate warriors you know.