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The Far Flung Adventure Of Homer The Hummer

a review by Shannon Bridget Murphy


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 children's book with illustrations of Homer and his travel adventure. There is defintately nothing ordinary 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 extraordinary. 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 the 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 Homer encountered. This was the result of Homer being in a torpor 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 their families. 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. The illustrations are 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 enthusiasts would also enjoy this book and the illustrations. However, those in the early learning years might find this story beyond their scope and expertise. 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 child's science project.

The Far Flung Adventure Of Homer The Hummer
Cynthia Furlong Reynolds (author) Catherine McClung (illustrator)
Ann Arbor Media Group LLC
ISBN 158726269X


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