The Turtle Dove’s Journey: A Story of Migration

Turtle Dove“The story of the monthlong, 4,000-mile migration of a European turtle dove from his nesting site in an English garden to rural Mali. Dunphy’s account is based on the migration of a real bird of this species that was tracked with satellite telemetry by Britain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. A series of warm, colorful illustrations is paired with a narrative describing each stage in the bird’s journey. The conversational third-person narration folds in lots of information: about how the bird knows where he is going—instinct, the sun, and recognition of landmarks from previous flights; why he flies at night (to avoid predators); where he hides during the day; and the various dangers of the trip, including heat, dust, and weather. Interesting details are included, such as the astonishing fact that the dove travels over the English Channel faster than the ships crossing it. The moving, engaging story is told with just the right blend of poetic warmth and factual detail to satisfy curious budding naturalists: “Luckily, this [Sahara Desert sandstorm] is relatively mild, and the turtle dove flies above it—much like an airplane can fly above a rainstorm.” A closing essay describes why this species is thought to migrate and notes that it is sadly on the decline due to changes in agricultural practices, hunting, drought, and disease. A compelling introduction to the miracle of migration. (map, resources) (Informational picture book. 6-10)” Kirkus Reviews

“Every year, turtle doves living in England and throughout Europe set out on an epic journey. In August or September, these birds fly off on a migratory pathway that takes them to Mali on the continent of Africa. This trip will encompass four thousand miles of flight and will take a month to complete. Flying at night to avoid predators, the doves first fly across the European continent, then cross over to Africa at Gibraltar, fly over the Sahara Desert, and finally arrive at their migratory destination. For six months, the doves live in their African habitat before returning north to raise their families in Europe. It is the story of the turtle dove, and its amazing migration, that readers will encounter in this lovely illustrated book. The story of the turtle doves migration is well-told in the informative text, and the colorful illustrations are a true augmentation to the story of these redoubtable birds. The author concludes the book with an informative summation of these amazing birds and the extreme challenges they face in their battle to survive as a species. Turtle doves are in danger of extinction due to habitat loss and environmental damage wrought by human beings. By learning more about the fantastic journeys turtle doves undertake, perhaps young people will better understand that our actions can have dire consequences for other living beings. This lovely book is a wonderful source of information and one that young readers with a bent for nature studies will enjoy.”—Children’s Literature

“This turtle dove’s journey was based on the migration of a real turtle dove that was tracked by satellite telemetry. Readers can follow the turtle dove as he begins to become restless in a garden in Suffolk, England and knows that it is time for him to migrate south. The turtle dove waits until night, when it is safer from predators, to travel the 4,000 miles from England to Mali. His month long journey takes him through England, France, Spain, and Africa until he finally arrives in Mali. Flying over land and water he stops each day to rest and eat for the next night’s journey. This beautifully written story about the journey of one turtle dove gives young readers a glimpse into the natural world of migration. (Ages 4-8)”—KIDSbookshelf

“Starting in the prim hedges of Suffolk, England, instinct drives the dove high into the night skies for a 4,000 mile trip to the savannahs of Mali, in West Africa. Along the way there are lonely, moonlit flights above the sea, a cozy hideout in the bushes of Bordeaux, France, a meeting of the birds at Gibraltar, the fountains of Casablanca, winds flowing “like a river” down canyons of the Atlas Mountains, and a Sahara sandstorm churning below. A combination of hero’s journey and guided tour, ‘The Turtle Dove’s Journey: A Story of Migration’ is picture account of the turtle dove’s annual migration that will carry children’s imaginations into unexplored territories. With carefully researched prose by author Madeleine Dunphy and showcasing beautifully luminous paintings by artist/illustrator Marlo Garnsworthy, ‘The Turtle Dove’s Journey: A Story of Migration’ is especially recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections as being perfect for any young reader ages 5-9 who has ever wondered about the mysterious journeys of the Turtle Dove.”—Midwest Book Review

Cat in the Night

Cat in the Night

PreS-Gr 2—”Rusty the cat is just waking up as his person, a little girl named Gwen, is falling asleep. He slips out an open window. “There he smells night-blooming jasmine, an overflowing garbage can, and the scents of familiar neighborhood animals. But tonight, something is…different. It is the scent of an unknown cat.” Rusty is on the case! During his search, he meets a skunk, raccoons, a mouse who turns into a midnight snack, and an opossum. Observant readers will delight in spotting the “intruder” in a number of scenes, which builds suspense and anticipation. Brunet’s gorgeous, full-spread illustrations perfectly set the moonlit tone. The depictions of cats and other animals are realistic, with lots of details for readers to pore over and discover. The two felines finally meet, and the inevitable tussle ensues, with Rusty managing to successfully chase off the culprit. The sun is just coming up when we see Rusty making his way back home for a quick bite to eat before curling up in bed with Gwen again—the story satisfyingly comes full circle. This tale will speak to children’s imaginings of pets or toys having another life while they sleep. VERDICT A quiet and suspenseful nighttime adventure that will appeal to cat lovers.”—School Library Journal

“This book, beautifully illustrated by Joshua Brunet, is a wonderful story. Rusty, Gwen’s sweet docile cat, goes exploring at night while Gwen is asleep. She has no idea that Rusty sneaks out and explores the neighborhood―meeting raccoons and opossums, and catching mice. He even protects the house from other cat intruders. Even though this is a suspenseful and enjoyable narrative, children will also learn about cat behavior. It would be a great read-aloud for any child who loves animals or an educational read for the elementary science classroom.”—School Library Connection Reviews

“A cat relies on his senses during a nocturnal foray. As a little black girl falls asleep, Rusty, her cat, wakes up, slips out the window, and instantly smells an intruding cat. Intent on the other feline, Rusty avoids a skunk and leaps onto the backyard fence. Leaving his scent as he “tiptoes along its ledge like a tightrope walker in a circus,” Rusty tracks the cat’s scent into the neighbor’s yard, where two raccoons are playing. Temporarily diverted by a high-pitched squeak and quick mouse hunt, Rusty watches an opossum disappear into the bushes. Finally, a scratching sound lures Rusty onto the garage roof, where he confronts the alien cat. A feisty feline fight with hissing and screeching ensues, then Rusty chases the intruder across the street. Homeward bound as dawn breaks, battle-weary Rusty finishes his kibble and crawls into bed as the little girl wakes up, unaware he’s been on the prowl. Realistic illustrations created with acrylic, oil, and colored pencil capture the drama of Rusty’s nighttime adventures. His taffy-and-white fur jumps out against the dark shapes and shadows of the backyard, highlighting his activities. Double-page close-ups and unusual perspectives invite a cat’s-eye view. A “More About Cats” page reinforces the textual and visual focus on feline senses. Intriguing peek into the secret life of cats.”— Kirkus Reviews

“Deftly written by Madeleine Dunphy and charmingly illustrated by Joshua S. Brunet, “Cat in the Night” is an impressively entertaining story about a little girl falls asleep just as her cat wakes up. Children ages 5 to 9 who have ever wondered what their cat does at night will experience the night-time world through the cat’s eyes, ears, nose, whiskers, and feet as he travels the neighborhood, meeting up with other denizens of the night. Thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ and wonderfully entertaining from first page to last, “Cat in the Night” is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.”— Midwest Book Review

“As Gwen sleeps soundly, her curious cat, Rusty, stalks the neighborhood using all of his feline senses to explore, in Madeleine Dunphy’s “Cat in the Night.” Bright stars and flashing eyes flicker across the deep blues and purples of Joshua S. Brunet’s nighttime illustrations, creating a hushed, peaceful tone for Rusty’s sniffing, slinking, stalking, and searching. Children are encouraged to look out for all the critters Rusty encounters on his way as well as instances of his heightened use of hearing, vision, touch, balance, and smell, all integral cat behavior, whether snuggling with a friendly little human or getting ready to pounce on a backyard predator.”— Foreword Reviews

Here is Antarctica

Here Is Antarctica book cover“A rhythmic, cumulative text and detailed acrylic paintings emphasizing the pinks, blues and grays of the icy sea and sky introduce the relationships among animals in the Antarctic ecosystem. [T]he familiar, House-that-Jack-Built pattern will appeal to young listeners, and the repetition is a boon for early readers. Teachers will welcome this appealing introduction….” —Kirkus Reviews

“This is a great book. The paintings are beautiful, realistic, and full of detail. The final two pages identify the illustrated species and give more detailed information on Antarctica, including how icebergs are formed and threats to the continent. My three-year old daughter and I both love this book.” — Science Books & Films

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Here is the African Savanna

Here Is the African Savanna “This is an attractive, effective way to introduce ecology to young readers.” — The Horn Book Guide

“A lovely, circular, cumulative tale evokes the landscape and animals of the Africa savanna.  Dunphy’s wording is a pleasure to read, and her . . . . structure is musical. Leonard’s artwork is equally engaging.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A classic style of cumulative verse builds the text as it weaves the story of the food web of the African savanna. The strength and survival of the animals is illustrated by luminous paintings featuring the interdependence of each strand of the food web.” — Science and Children

Here is the Arctic Winter

Here Is the Arctic Winter book cover“In blue, black, and white illustrations, attributes of the Arctic winter unfold. Double-page spreads contain brief text describing an array of animals; lyrical and cumulative, the story is good for reading aloud.” The Horn Book

“Snowy owl and caribou, narwhal and polar bear, surviving in the ice at the end of the world. The hypnotic text and paintings by the renowned wildlife artist mark the collaborators’ stunning debut.” Smithsonian

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Here is the Coral Reef

Here Is the Coral Reef book cover “Set beneath the coral sea of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, this forceful cumulative rhyming tale introduces some of the striking residents of the coral reef ecosystem: “Here is the coral/of all colors and shapes/that lives in clear waters/in this vivid seascape.” Each spread adds two lines of rhyme about another resident: parrotfish, wrasses, cod, clownfish, black-tipped reef shark, manta ray, Hawksbill turtle, remoras, Moray eels, anemone, and sponge. Some drama is inserted when the Moray eel must escape from a shark, but all ends well. The text appears on the left quarter of the spread, framed in a pale blue border. Leonard uses the rest of the space to present undersea paintings in a vivid, nearly neon palette. The artist varies perspectives, giving viewers the impression that they are not only underwater at eye level with the reef’s inhabitants, but sometimes at tooth level.”(Picture book. 5-9)—Kirkus Reviews

“Beginning simply with “Here is the coral reef,” a cumulative text builds to describe various attributes of this colorful environment . . . this vibrant, idealized picture of the southern hemisphere reef will grab and hold the attention of young viewers.”School Library Journal

“This vividly illustrated book presents the interdependence of the various inhabitants of the ecosystem that is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.  The repeating verse style will engage young readers as they gain an appreciation of the plants, fish, and other sea creatures that live in and around the reef.”— Science and Children

Here is the Southwestern Desert

Here Is the Southwestern Desert book cover“Using a repetitive cumulative structure, this book excels in demonstrating the interconnectedness of the various species that inhabit the Sonoran Desert.”— Horn Book

Information on the Sonoran desert is presented in a cumulative fashion a la The House That Jack Built, e.g., “Here Is the lizard/who is spied by the hawk/that perches on the cactus/that is covered with spines. . . . ” The book is beautifully designed . . . saturated with dazzling desert light.— School Library Journal

Here Is the Southwestern Desert is a cheerful introduction to a desert theme, or to any ecological study.” — Teaching K-8

Here is the Tropical Rain Forest

Here Is the Tropical Rainforest book cover“Both the pictures and language are worthy of note . . . The words read aloud with a distinct rhythm, and Rothman’s artwork, in a palette of subduedgreens and browns, shows readers the  connectedness of plants and animals. . .” — Booklist

“Children will be drawn into this exotic world by both the rhythmical text and the lush illustrations that fill the pages.” — Language Arts

“The exceptionally realistic and lush color drawings of Michael Rothman help this stand apart from the usual tropical rain forest considerations, making it a fine introduction with simple yet appealing descriptions and fine visuals.”
— Midwest Book Review

“This cumulative tale starts in the rain forest, adds creatures great and small, and ends with the rain that fills the rivers. Rothman’s lovely illustrations, done in the lush greens of the wet tropics, accompany the sing-song verses. . . . As a picture book, this title serves to illustrate some of the rain forest’s creatures and to acquaint children with this  important part of the world . . . .” — School Library Journal

Here is the Wetland

Here Is the Wetland book coverHere Is the Wetland by Madeleine Dunphy makes this world appealing for younger readers and listeners. . . . Children love this type of repeating book so that will make this a nifty and popular introduction to an important ecosystem. The pictures are beautiful and the frog on the cover should make this a book readers will want to pick up.” Library Talk

“The rhythmic cumulative text of this book introduces readers to the interdependence of plants and animals in a wetland habitat. Uncluttered watercolors convey a sense of balance and harmony. . . .”— Horn Book

The Peregrines Journey: A Story of Migration

The Peregrine’s Journey: A Story of Migration book cover“This well-illustrated, well-written book provides a wealth of information about peregrine falcons, bird migration, and predator-prey relationships. It would be an excellent addition to a school library or to a child’s personal library. I recommend The Peregrine’s Journey highly.”— Editor’s Choice, Science Books & Films

“Madeleine Dunphy treats both her reader and the peregrine with dignity and respect. The pictures are starkly realistic, but Kest also catches a subtle, appealing cockiness in the peregrine’s poise.”— School Library Journal

“Madeleine Dunphy’s Peregrine’s Journey presents a young peregrine falcon’s year migration beginning in Northern Alaska and ending in Argentina. It reads like fiction but is filled with facts.” Childwatch

At Home with the Gopher Tortoise

for“Educational without being didactic, this picture book is an engaging introduction to the concept of a keystone species—an animal on which many other species depend. Rothmans’s eye-catching, full-bleed acrylic paintings depict a wide variety of creatures utilizing the gopher tortoise’s burrow. Almost every spread features a beautifully illustrated example of yet another animal, bird, or insect—from skunks to owls to scorpions—that relies on the gopher tortoise’s burrow for shelter, nesting, and protection from predators. Dunphy’s clear text adds additional interesting details (“The loose soil created by the tortoise’s digging is perfect for growing plants”). With a map showing the tortoise’s range of habitat in the southeastern United States and an end not relating that the animal is a threatened species, this attractive book effectively demonstrates the interdependent nature of the animal world.” —Booklist Reviews

At Home With the Gopher Tortoise: The Story of a Keystone Species is an illustrated nature/conservation book for children featuring a unique “keystone” species. With 360 different species of animals dependent on it for survival, the gopher tortoise presents a fascinating study of ecological interdependency. Because the gopher tortoise digs burrows for its dens in parts of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and other Southeastern states of the US, many other species including skunks, birds, frogs, mice and snakes depend on the burrows for their own protection and survival of their young. Even burrowing owls use the gopher tortoise’s burrows to shelter their fledgling owlets. Other insects use the burrows and other birds eat the insects that thrive in the burrows, completing yet more circles of interdependency. Even a bobcat may use a large burrow to hide and cool itself, while birds such as bobwhites, rabbits and lizards also find refuge in the burrows. In the soil loosened by the gopher tortoise’s digging grow plants such as the scrub mint which provides a pleasant fragrance. In this way the life activities of the gopher tortoise provide protective, favorable habitat for a whole spectrum of living creatures who depend upon the continued survival of the gopher tortoise species for survival. At Home with the Gopher Tortoise: The Story of a Keystone Species shows how one humble species can be at the center of a vast web of creatures’ lives. The beautiful detailed illustrations show many of the different animals in their natural settings, enhancing appeal to an audience of children ages 5-9.”  —Midwest Book Reviews

 “This book gives a simple yet in-depth look at the importance of an unassuming and often overlooked animal.  Surprisingly, the gopher tortoise significantly affects more than 360 different kinds of animals that depend upon its burrows for shelter, food, or a place to raise young.  This is a fascinating look at how one species can affect the fate of many.” —Science & Children

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