Review of The Longest Journey: An Arctic Tern’s Migration

The Longest Journey: An Arctic Tern’s Migration The Longest Journey: An Arctic Tern’s Migration
by Amy Hevron; illus. by the author
Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.   g
7/22    978-0-8234-4700-8    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-0-8234-5302-3    $11.99

A young Arctic tern’s extraordinary migration route takes her from the North Pole to the South Pole and back—“the longest migration of any living creature on Earth.” Within just two months of her birth, “flapping and fluttering, the little Arctic tern takes off” from Greenland, one of twenty in a flock that will pass over oceans and continents, with brief rests on island beaches and floating driftwood. Hevron’s account of the three-month journey explains events both perilous and wondrous, with collective nouns and sound words emphasized throughout: the birds soar over a “flamboyance” of Liberian flamingos, pods of humpback whales, and “tuk-tuk-tuk!…a raft of macaroni penguins” but are also threatened by a great skua (“Pyeh! Pyeh!”) and powerful storms. Hevron’s creative acrylic paintings and evocative, cool-toned sketches of the terns, sea, land, and sky are executed on wood and altered digitally to take advantage of the wood-grain textures in backgrounds and negative spaces. A helpful world map in the corner of many spreads orients readers to the tern’s location at each point in the journey. Finally reaching the pack ice of the Weddell Sea in Antarctica, the bird will enjoy summer in the south before traveling back again to her Arctic breeding ground. The main narrative centers on the flight; to learn more about the tern’s life cycle, feeding, and reproduction, readers can consult the informative endnotes and suggested resources.

From the July/August 2022 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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