By April Pulley Sayre, Illustrated by Jamie Hogan
Charlesbridge Publishing, $7.95, 32 pages
Humpback whales are amazing creatures. They can be found in every ocean on Earth, endlessly swimming and completing one of the longest migrations of any mammal on land or sea. Prolific children’s author April Pulley Sayre celebrates these beauties of the sea in Here Come the Humpbacks! Young readers follow a mother humpback whale and her calf as they make their yearly journey from the warm Caribbean Sea to the food-filled waters off the coast of New England and back home. Jamie Hogan’s illustrations are stunning. Rich pastel colors complement the poetic text. Pages of pictures created with charcoal pencil and pastel on sanded paper delight the eyes.
The beginning of each section starts with a similar refrain: “Here breathes a humpback.” “Here sings a humpback.” This clues the reader into what they’ll be learning about in more depth in the next paragraph. In addition to basic information about the species, Sayre includes discussions on whale-watching rules, ocean pollution that threatens animals and other survival challenges. The amount of information readers will take away from Here Come the Humpbacks is impressive. Learn how a humpback calf is born, why whales blow air through their blowholes, what a whale eats and why they have barnacles on their bodies. Find out why male whales sing songs that can last for thirty minutes! The book encourages reader participation as the text is filled with words describing noises that whale blowholes and flippers make. Kids will want to try them out and also help recite the refrain that begins each new section.
Here Come the Humpbacks is a lovely, educational book that young readers will enjoy. It makes an excellent addition to school and family libraries and is a book your reader will return to again and again!
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin