Thursday, June 7, 2007

Humingbird's Warm Weather Flight

TITLE The Far Flung Adventure Of Homer The Hummer

AUTHOR Cynthia Furlong Reynolds (author) Catherine McClung (illustrator)

PUBLISHER Ann Arbor Media Group. LLC

ISBN 158726269X

Homer the hummingbird had far to travel from the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica to grace the gardens and landscape in Michigan. Artist Catherine McClung has filled this 32 page childrens book with illustrations of Homer and his travel adventure. There is definately nothing ordinary or plain in the extraordinary appearance of Homer or the birds and animals who have been illustrated in this hardcover book. The garden scenes, flowers and landscape in the pages are a gardener's paradise.

The writing of Cynthia Furlong Reynolds makes it clear to see why she received a 2002 Michigan Book of Excellence Award. This story would be incomplete without the illustrations of Catherine McClung. Her knowledge of birds and the gardens that they grace is evident through her artwork which has extended beyond the boundaries of the Michigan borders. Ducks Unlimited, conservation groups and the White House have been among those who have admired her artwork with recognition.

The journey of Homer the hummingbird is one that is almost extraodinary. It is within the tropical blooms of the Monteverdel Cloud Forest of Costa Rica that Homer began his journey. Author Cynthia Furlong Reynolds explained through the pages of this story that "birds of every color, size and shape chirp for attention and compete for food." She further elaborated that the birds "soar, swoop and salsay." Through this tropical scene, Homer "darts among tropical blooms."

The partially global journey of Homer is one filled with unexpected twists and an assortment of dangers. This includes a hungry frog, hundreds of miles of open water and extremely cold nights. An escorted trip in a shirt pocket of a man who found Homer is one of the unexpected twists that Home encountered. This was the result of Homer being in a torpor which is explained as a "deep sleep" by the author. A wing extending from the pocket of the man creates an interesting scene for everyone.

A sense of how hummingbirds live is gleemed from the pages of this story. There are 338 species of hummingbirds. All of them share a need for food, sleep, exercise and a comfortable nest for themselves and family. The way that these needs are accomplished by Homer is described in detail through the pages of this story.

This book includes simple suggestions for the care of hummingbirds. A "sugar water solution" placed into the hummingbird's feeder provides a simple explanation and illustration for feeding this type of bird. This is something that can be easily put into practice. Finding a hummingbird recipe might require additional time and a lesson plan. The illustrations would be good examples to show to a classroom in a variety of plans about hummingbirds.

This story has been written for a children's audience. Bird enthustiasts would also enjoy this book and the illustrations. However, those who are early childhood students might find this story beyond their scope and exptertise. The wording and writing can be a constructive challenge for upper elementary school students. It would be a good read for a science class or a child's science project.

Shannon Bridget Murphy