What would it take for one small hummingbird to complete an extraordinary journey? Author Reynolds answers this question in her story of the migratory flight of Homer the hummingbird from South America to the United States. The story makes a great start and flows up the coast with Homer, but a few vague references and ideas make Homer's flight more difficult to follow. It is very clear that Homer begins his journey in the rain forests of Costa Rica, but the story is not clear about where his travels end. It would enhance the story to have a map of Homer's travels included in the book. The people who help Homer on his journey are real and compassionate, and make great contributions to both Homer and the story as a whole. The reader will enjoy traveling with Homer and meeting diverse characters, like the farmer who saves Homer's life, the people he flies by in a hot air balloon, and the artist who looks for his return every year. The story is well written, and the repetition of the phrase where Homer "flies, flies, and flies some more" bring to life the length of the little bird's journey. The "Did you know?" section about hummingbirds at the end of the book is an excellent reference and shows the author has done her homework. Beautiful paintings by artist McClung bring Homer's travels alive, although, occasionally, he is difficult to spot in some of the paintings. Homer's story is an excellent introduction to migration of birds between continents. Although there are one or two uncertainties about where home is, Homer's story is a joy to read. 2005, Mitten Press, Ages 6 to 8.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Embedded in this fictional account of the migration of a ruby-throated hummingbird is basic information about these tiny birds. Homer's perilous flight takes him from the Costa Rican cloud forest across miles of ocean before he reaches land again. As he flies north, humans help revive him from torpor twice before he reaches an artist's garden. There he encounters Ruby, a female that builds a nest and hatches two young. In September Homer leaves on his journey south. McClung's soft-focus watercolors are varied and appealing; her birds and flowers are expertly rendered. Reynolds walks a fine line between treating Homer as a real bird and as a tiny winged human. She succeeds for the most part, although a bit of anthropomorphism does creep into the text. Kristine O'Connell George's Hummingbird Nest (Harcourt, 2004) documents the author's personal encounter with a hummingbird. Irene Kelly's It's a Hummingbird's Life (Holiday House, 2003) follows the creature's migration from north to south, and Esther Quesada Tyrrell's Hummingbirds: Jewels in the Sky (Random, 1992) offers amazing close-up photographs and more detailed information about other species. Homer is a good introduction to the subject, particularly for students who live in areas where they might observe these birds.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The title isn't all that's wordy in this new publisher's debut offering, but Reynolds's tale of a ruby-throated hummingbird's journey from a Costa Rican rain forest to a favorite garden on the U.S.'s eastern seaboard will leave young readers wowed by the tiny bird's endurance and toughness. Along the way, Homer faces dangers as diverse as a hungry frog, hundreds of miles of open water and a very cold night. ("That bird was in a deep sleep called torpor and he woke up," a man explains after the seemingly dead hummingbird takes wing from his pocket.) He eventually hooks up with both an artist who keeps the feeder outside her window filled, and with his similarly migratory mate Ruby. Like Gay W. Holland's art in April Pulley Sayre's The Hungry Hummingbird (2001), McClung's soft-lined paintings create verdant natural settings, while capturing the hummer's jewel-like colors and zippy energy. Plenty of child appeal here, in topic and presentation both. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-8)