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John Muir and Stickeen: An Icy Adventure with a No-Good Dog

Overview

Muir is best known for his work to establish and conserve America's national parks, but he was also a farmer, inventor, explorer and writer. Muir loved all things wild, and felt that tame animals and livestock had lost their wildness, and therefore much of their intelligence and spirit. On an expedition to Alaska, a friend's dog changed Muir's mind. John Muir and Stickeen tells the thrilling adventure of how Muir set off to explore a glacier one day, with the unwelcome accompaniment of Stickeen, and ran into a ...

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Overview

Muir is best known for his work to establish and conserve America's national parks, but he was also a farmer, inventor, explorer and writer. Muir loved all things wild, and felt that tame animals and livestock had lost their wildness, and therefore much of their intelligence and spirit. On an expedition to Alaska, a friend's dog changed Muir's mind. John Muir and Stickeen tells the thrilling adventure of how Muir set off to explore a glacier one day, with the unwelcome accompaniment of Stickeen, and ran into a storm. What happened on that terrifying day made Muir see domestic animals in a new light.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
By relating just one incident based on a true story in the life of John Muir, the authors make this early environmentalist come alive for young readers. Glaciers fascinated John Muir, and while on an expedition to Glacier Bay, Alaska, he was followed out on the glacier by a feisty little dog named Stickeen. Muir thought the dog was just a pampered pet, until he saw the dog's courage as Stickeen risked his life to follow Muir through a terrifying storm. The dark figures of man and dog stand out sharply against the dramatically massive icy blue-colored glacier and emphasize the frightening power of the natural world and the intense cold of this Alaskan wilderness. One double page spread is particularly effective in showing the vastness of the glacier. Tiny snapshot-like vignettes of man and dog, echoing details from the larger illustrations remind the reader of the contrast between man and nature. Generous white space forms a background for the simple straightforward text and the book would make a successful read aloud. While not actual diary entries, the snippets of parchment with journal-like notations, and the map and Tlingit drawings on the end papers give the book historical flavor. Children will enjoy this heart-warming dog story while receiving a valuable introduction to one of our most important early conservationists. Readers wanting to learn more about John Muir might try John Muir: American Naturalist by Thomas Locker, Fulcrum Publishing, May 2003. 2004, Northwood Press, Ages 6 to 9.
—Quinby Frank
Kirkus Reviews
A cover illustration draws the reader into the historical setting in the Alaskan wilderness of 1880: three men row desperately in an open boat as a dog clings precariously to the prow. That dog is Stickeen, who was part of an expedition headed by John Muir to map Alaska's glaciers. He initially resented the dog's inclusion in the group, but after the harrowing experience of being lost together in a storm, Muir developed great respect and affection for him. This story is based on Muir's own journals from his trip and his other writings and sketches, and the volume's format includes journal pages written in first person. An explanatory note indicates that these journal entries are "not meant to be reproductions of Muir's journals," leaving the reader unclear as to the parameters of fact and fiction. Nonetheless, the story has an engaging main character and striking illustrations that capture the majesty of Alaska's wilderness. An afterword gives more information on Muir and his legacy, and sepia-toned endpapers provide a map of Alaska and sketches of a Tlingit dancer and totem poles. (Nonfiction. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559719032
  • Publisher: Cooper Square Publishing Llc
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 746,227
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.31 (w) x 10.28 (h) x 0.42 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2004

    Forever Friends

    Don't let the title or John Muir's early disdain for the dog fool you. This is a beautifully worded and illustrated story about the everlasting friendship between a man and a dog. The conflict, which revolves around survival (of both man & dog) and loyalty puts the reader on edge -- however, with the resolution comes a big sigh of relief and grin. Readers who enjoy biographies should not miss this one. A perfect gift for the young environmentalist, explorer and/or animal welfare activist.

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