Mammoths on the move

Lisa Wheeler, 1963-

Book - 2006

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Wheeler Checked In
Stories in rhyme
Picture books
Orlando : Harcourt c2006.
Main Author
Lisa Wheeler, 1963- (-)
Other Authors
Kurt Cyrus (illustrator)
1st ed
Physical Description
unpaged : col. ill. ; 27 x 29 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

K-Gr. 2. This handsome picture book features a poem about woolly mammoth migration and suitably large-scale illustrations on a series of wide, double-page spreads. The text describes a group of female mammoths and their young traveling south for the winter, reaching their destination only to turn around and begin their long trek back. Wheeler uses wordplay skillfully, her verse shows originality, and her introductory author's note indicates her familiarity with the latest scientific research. However, her tendency to slip into a jocular tone makes the book an uneasy combination of fact, conjecture, and imagination. A line such as Their menu had to be improved, / so mammoths packed their trunks and moved may be clever, but it casts doubt on whether the book really belongs in the 500s. In any case, the beautifully composed scratchboard illustrations offer strong line work, subtle use of color, and a fine sense of what migrating mammoths may have looked like all those millennia ago. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2006 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Cyrus's (Avalanche Annie) spectacular scratchboard-and-watercolor illustrations steal the show in this rhyming salute to the giants of the Ice Age-so much so that he makes the perky rhymes feel almost superfluous. Wheeler (Wool Gathering) has clearly researched her subject well, and her text bubbles with the enthusiasm of an elementary school teacher. But the cheery tone and factual presentation at times seem at odds. In one early spread, Wheeler writes: "Their feet like snowshoes, wide and flat,/ had rough-skinned soles designed so that/ they would not slip on ice and snow./ Steady mammoths-time to go!/ Stepping, stomping,/ marching, tromping-/ Watch out,/ woolly mammoths!" What Cyrus depicts in the accompanying illustration, however, is more complex, dramatic-and poignant. As snow swirls around an icy green-blue sky, a line of mammoths trudges across the spread; at the far left, only an enormous leg can be seen placing its foot in the snow, while at the other end, a baby mammoth gamely follows the company's huge leader. As in all the pages, Cyrus renders the mammals' shaggy hides with a gorgeous chiaroscuro effect, using hundreds of closely placed silvery vertical scratches to evoke the thickness and warmth that enveloped and protected the creatures. There are many more extraordinary pages in this book (including an underwater view that shows readers what the mammoths looked like while swimming) that will wow fans of the prehistoric beasts. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Buoyant language and vivid artwork depict the excitement of the migration of "Massive, hairy,/legendary" woolly mammoths. The words flow smoothly, providing interesting bits of information about the animals within the rhymed framework: "Come colder days, those mammoth herds/migrated south, just like the birds." Occasional humorous phrases ("so mammoths packed their trunks and moved") add a lighthearted touch without detracting from the progression of the journey. Short refrains ("Big and bulky,/huge and hulky,/wide and woolly mammoths!") break up the rhythm neatly and are especially lively when read aloud. Scratchboard-and-watercolor illustrations capture the creatures' majesty and the beautiful landscape of their trek. Thick black lines and stark whites are balanced by the luminous colors of sky, water, and snow. The composition of the spreads is varied to strong effect. A dramatic scene shows two grown males clashing, for example, while a page turn reveals a much less imposing pair of calves play fighting. Other visual highlights depict the prehistoric beasts swimming with "snorkel-trunks up high," plodding past the bones of less-fortunate travelers, and finally emerging into green fields as "They reached the south by winter's end.../then started heading north again!" This successful mixture of rhyme, facts, and illustration, applied to a fascinating subject, will make this picture book a popular choice.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

This informative presentation of the extinct animals' anatomy, care of their young, and migration across the ice fields is marred by sing-song rhymes with repetitive tag lines (""wonderful woolly mammoths!"" ""wise and woolly mammoths!""). The watercolor-and-scratchboard illustrations portray the mammoths and their wintry landscapes in sharp contrasts of black, white, and lustrous colors. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

With mountainous dignity, mammoths lumber across wide prehistoric landscapes as Wheeler traces their ancient annual round in verse: "Come colder days, those mammoth herds / migrated south, just like the birds. / Their menu had to be improved, / so mammoths packed their trunks and moved." Limning heavy tusks and each shaggy lock in strong lines and rich golden hues, Cyrus views the page-filling pachyderms from low angles, capturing a sense of their massive presence as they loom over small trees, plod through snow storms, gather in a defensive circle at the sight of a saber-toothed tiger and paddle, trunks up across deep water. (Wheeler notes at the outset that scientists extrapolate mammoth behavior from watching modern elephants.) Young audiences will be riveted by this compelling introduction, and rightly tempted to echo the awed refrain: "Big and bulky, / huge and hulky, / wide and woolly mammoths!" (Picture book nonfiction. 7-9) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.