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 ...
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.
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
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.)
- Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In the Caribbean, a female humpback whale swims away from the rolling males to deliver a calf and raise him to the surface so he can breathe his first breath. He nurses and spouts, but cannot sing yet like the adult males. Escort males watch over them. In the spring, the mother and calf follow the other whales through the shipping lanes and passed hungry orcas to where she can finally feed at Cape Cod. By autumn, the calf has learned to feed himself. The whales will migrate back to the Caribbean until it is time to return North in the spring. The tale takes place mainly in the sea; we might be observing from a submarine. Hogan's charcoal, pencil, and pastel illustrations contribute to the somewhat fuzzy but naturalistic appearance of the whales and other creatures, capturing the graceful movements and powerful leaps with arching backs and spreading tails. In addition to small notes on text pages, Sayre includes further information at the end. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"Flippers paddle. Flukes push. In every ocean on Earth, humpback whales swim." So begins this introduction to humpback migration. Sayre structures her tale around a mother whale, beginning as she is about to give birth and migrate north to colder waters with her calf. Their journey will be long, and they will face many dangers, man-made and natural. The primary text features fairly short sentences, onomatopoeia and simple vocabulary to engage younger readers. Italicized asides interspersed throughout go into greater depth for older children and their grown-ups, discussing whale songs, food sources and survival challenges to name just a few. Deep blues and greens highlighted with white crests are rendered in charcoal and pastel on sanded paper, providing a textural immediacy that plunges readers into the ocean. The occasional placement of black text over Hogan's appropriately murky depths occasionally makes reading a challenge. A conclusion provides more detailed information on migration and studying whales. There's plenty of drama and appeal in this primary-grade introduction. (Informational picture book. 5-8)
April Pulley Sayre is the award-winning author of dozens of books, including MEET THE HOWLERS!; TURTLE, TURTLE, WATCH OUT!; and ONE IS A SNAIL, TEN IS A CRAB, an ALA Notable Book. She lives in South Bend, Indiana.