Big Alaska: Journey Across America's Most Amazing State

Overview

Come soar across Alaska's extraordinary landscape and see its wonders through the eyes of our national emblem, the bald eagle. Alaska is our biggest state, but it is also one of the least populated, making it an enormous span of natural wonders and astonishing wilderness. This unique place is home to the tallest mountain, the most active volcanoes, and the largest land mammals in North America. See hundred-pound salmon, two-ton walruses, and thundering herds of caribou. Take wing through mountains covered with ...

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Overview

Come soar across Alaska's extraordinary landscape and see its wonders through the eyes of our national emblem, the bald eagle. Alaska is our biggest state, but it is also one of the least populated, making it an enormous span of natural wonders and astonishing wilderness. This unique place is home to the tallest mountain, the most active volcanoes, and the largest land mammals in North America. See hundred-pound salmon, two-ton walruses, and thundering herds of caribou. Take wing through mountains covered with glaciers, fly under the cover of lush rain forests, and circle over barren Arctic tundras.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Most of us know that Alaska is the largest state in the Union; many of us know that it's also the least populated. Few of us, though, fully grasp the astonishing diversity of the state's natural wonders. Big Alaska reveals the Last Frontier in its many aspects: glacier-covered mountains, rainforests, barren Arctic tundra.
Children's Literature
For all of Alaska's amazing attributes, it is probably treading on sensitive ground to refer to any state as "most amazing." Debbie Miller continues to offer superlatives on almost every page—highest coastal mountains, strongest earthquake, worst oil spill, heaviest vegetables. Those vegetables pose a problem of detail. Alaska's record-breaking cabbage weighed 105 pounds but young readers may not have a clue just how heavy that really is in comparison to a normal cabbage. A glossary would have been helpful for these younger readers, especially for words like "calving," to describe chunks of ice falling from a glacier. Some of the best information is in a "special places" section at the end, where the historic nature of the Iditarod dog sled race is explained and Internet resources are connected to each site. Illustrator John Van Zyle is both a musher himself and the official artist for the Iditarod race; his wildlife and landscape paintings are especially vivid. This book could be used by youngsters working on their first research project—as long as they are reminded to ask questions and seek answers beyond the few paragraphs on each page. 2006, Walker & Company, and Ages 6 to 10.
—Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
Gr 2-8-Miller's text follows a bald eagle's flight across Alaska, beginning with Admiralty Island and circling back to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. The route reveals fishermen in a river, walruses basking in a sanctuary, the northern lights above the Iditarod Trail, whales, farmers, bears, and the site of the strongest North American earthquake, Katmai. Each spread is devoted to a new destination. Endpapers show an outline map with the locations visited clearly identified. Unfortunately, most of the Aleutian Islands are not depicted, leading some readers to think that they are seeing a complete map of the state. Zyle's acrylic paintings perfectly suit the grandeur of the subject. Some scenes are viewed from the eagle's perspective, over his wingspan; sometimes he is perched on rocks or branches. Back matter includes "Alaska Facts," "State Symbols," "Climate Records," and "Alaska's Special Places," which has additional information on the locations described in the text. These resources will be especially helpful for reports, but the book as a whole is a special treasure both for readers already interested in the subject and newcomers. An excellent addition to any collection.-Amelia Jenkins, Juneau Public Library, AK Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The author and illustrator team of Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights (2003) and other titles on their home state add another tourist picture book for browsing. A glimpse of Alaska as the eagle flies, this highlights the superlatives of the state including the largest temperate rain forest, walrus sanctuary, highest coastal mountains, worst oil spill, largest land bear and more. The double-page acrylic paintings in blue and grey emphasize the vastness of the territory. The author concludes with brief Alaska facts, climate records, additional information and web sites for each of the sites described as well as a map of the sites visited. Students researching Alaska will need to look elsewhere, but this title may spur the curiosity of armchair adventurers and naturalists. (Nonfiction. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802780690
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 2/21/2006
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 799,642
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 10.95 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Debbie S. Miller has written many acclaimed children's books. Her book Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights won a John Burroughs Nature Books for Young Readers Award, was a CBC/NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Selector's Choice, and was named to the Texas Bluebonnet Award Masterlist. She has written many other books for Walker & Company, including The Great Serum Race, Disappearing Lake, and Are Trees Alive? This is the eighth project Debbie S. Miller and Jon Van Zyle have collaborated on. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, with her family.

Jon Van Zyle is a noted children's book illustrator and artist. He has participated twice in the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, was recently inducted into the Iditarod Hall of Fame, and is the race's official artist.

The Alaskan landscape and wildlife inspire his work, including his beautiful illustrations in Sled Dogs Run for Walker & Company.

Jon lives with his wife, Jona, and their Siberian huskies in Eagle River, Alaska.

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