Review of The Magnificent Migration: On Safari with Africa's Last Great Herds

The Magnificent Migration: On Safari with Africa’s Last Great Herds
by Sy Montgomery; photos by Roger Wood and Logan Wood
Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    162 pp.
6/19    978-0-544-76113-1    $24.99

Montgomery takes readers on safari, joining a group led by eminent scientist Dr. Richard Despard Estes to follow wildebeest migrations through Tanzania and Kenya. It’s spring—mating season—and although its main goal is to see the vast herds of wildebeest, the group also encounters lions, elephants, hippos, and a host of antelope species. Montgomery’s explanations of the science of migration and the complex relationships among life and land in the Serengeti ecosystem are told through a practically minute-by-minute narrative of her adventures. Readers may feel as though they are in the hot and dusty Land Cruiser alongside our narrator as she makes observations about animals, the landscape, and even her traveling companions and their interesting histories. The impacts of humans on the fragile ecosystem and animal populations—positively through conservation and education and negatively through poaching and climate change—are noted throughout. The Woods’ photographs, set off by the sharp book design, skillfully capture the sweeping landscapes, the diverse species of the region, and the people who live nearby and who study the animals. Hand-drawn maps illustrate the vast areas through which wildebeests travel on their migration cycle. Labels and captions appear as pages torn from notebooks, or images taped into a diary. Back matter includes a selected bibliography, an index, and “Get Involved!” advice for how to support the conservation of wild animal populations in the Serengeti.

From the September/October 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

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