Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Camping Trip That Changed America

Author, Illustrator pair Barb Rosenstock and Mordicai Gerstein are NOT from Philadelphia, lest you think I have some bias towards authors and illustrators from the Philadelphia area.

Have you ever visited Muir Woods? I have had the honor and pleasure of taking in those breathtaking, endless, and protected trees. I can only imagine having done so when they were surrounded entirely by wilderness as Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir himself did in this account.

During this time of global warming and a search for sustainable fuel sources, it is almost comical to think of a time when "Most people, even his [Theodore Roosevelt's] own experts, thought America had so much wilderness it couldn't ever be used up!". Clearly they hadn't heard of "The Lorax."

I am happy that John Muir was "The Lorax" of his time, speaking for the trees and spectacular open spaces. How lucky we are today that such visionaries came before us who sought to protect natural spaces for the rest of us to enjoy. And thank goodness for presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt who were open minded to ideas that preserved the greater good. Not only open, but willing to personally explore the grandeur of all our country had (and as a result now HAS) to offer.

In this account of "The Camping Trip That Changed America" when John Muir guided Theodore Roosevelt through the Yosemite wilderness to "see those trees for himself.". Gerstein's illustrations offer such versatility with facial profiles so expressive you can see the confusion on Roosevelt's face, the irritation on Muir's and the pure joy of both. I'm a big fan of books that you need to turn to show an illustration in profile (think Tops and Bottoms) and this book offers the perfect opportunity as both men stop on horseback in the Mariposa Grove among giant sequoias. The landscapes of Half Dome and El Capitan are gorgeous.

The author's note explains what is fact and what is fill in the blank fiction.

The Camping Trip that Changed America is the kind of book that can open minds to the way things could have been, the way they are and the way they can be in the future. Which path will our students choose for the future of our country?

The Camping Trip that Changed America
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3710-5
Published 2012 by Dial Books for Young Readers
I borrowed this copy from my public library to read and review it.
I plan to add this book to our school library collection.

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