Here Come the Humpbacks!
written by April Pulley Sayre; illustrated by Jamie Hogan
2013 (Charlesbridge Publishing)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
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A female humpback whale swims in the Caribbean Sea in February. She is ready to give birth as she travels to the shallow waters. After feeding her calf for eleven and a half months, she releases him and does a roll to break the cord. The one ton baby boy will stay near his mother as he builds his body through drinking up to fifty gallons of milk a day. An escort male whale keeps company with the mother and her calf. He fends off other males who try to bother the trio. April approaches and most of the other whales have already migrated. The mother whale knows it is time to feed again, but she must go north to find the fish she needs. Mother and calf leave the Caribbean and head up the coast of the United States past Cape Cod. A dangerous encounter with orcas leave the calf with a few nicks but the mother beats back the pesky predators. After more than a month of swimming, the mother is ready to eat. They will stay until the cool of autumn sends them back toward the Caribbean for another winter.
Here Come the Humpbacks! is a resource that can have many purposes tied to contrasting information. You can compare the humpback whale to other migrating animals, like butterflies, and find similarities and differences in their journeys. There are also two types of text in this book which provide another opportunity to work on genres of nonfiction. The primary text is an easier narrative while the secondary text is more informational. This is perfect for when you are teaching about different types of nonfiction. You can explore what is similar and what is different about these texts. I would take a stack of books and ask students to place them in these two categories or a different category if needed. Here Come the Humpbacks! provides insight into a fascinating animal and a chance to dig deeper into nonfiction text types.