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The Camping Trip That Changed America
     

The Camping Trip That Changed America

by Barb Rosenstock, Mordecai Gerstein (Illustrator)
 

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Caldecott medalist Mordicai Gerstein captures the majestic redwoods of Yosemite in this little-known but important story from our nation's history. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt joined naturalist John Muir on a trip to Yosemite. Camping by themselves in the uncharted woods, the two men saw sights and held discussions that would ultimately lead to the

Overview

Caldecott medalist Mordicai Gerstein captures the majestic redwoods of Yosemite in this little-known but important story from our nation's history. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt joined naturalist John Muir on a trip to Yosemite. Camping by themselves in the uncharted woods, the two men saw sights and held discussions that would ultimately lead to the establishment of our National Parks.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Now a Bank Street 2013 Best Book of the Year and a Parents' Choice Silver Medalist!

 "History accessible for young readers." - starred review, School Library Journal

"Wonderfully simple, sweet and engaging." - Kirkus Reviews

"A compelling account." - The Horn Book

Booklist Top Ten Books on the Environment for Youth

California Library Association Beatty Award

Illinois' Monarch Award List

Maryland's Black-Eyed Susan Award List

South Carolina Picture Book Award List

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote to naturalist John Muir asking Muir to take him on a camping trip to California's Yosemite wilderness so he could see for himself the endangered sequoia trees that Muir loved so much. When Muir accepted, Roosevelt took off for the West. Tall, thin Muir and short, stocky Roosevelt make a picturesque pair as they gallop uphill on horseback, hair and horsetails flying on their way to the trees and mountains. Rosenstock has used primary sources to recreate conversations Muir and Roosevelt might have had as they camped together, beginning in the ancient Mariposa Grove of towering sequoias, captured in an elongated vertical spread. Cartoon panels enliven Muir's comic story—told as they bed down under the great Grizzly Giant—of his encounter with a bear. The story has a point, however: grizzlies are extinct in Yosemite. The pair camp at rugged Glacier Point, while Muir explains how the wilderness was formed and readers see their crazy delight as they wake covered with white flakes from an overnight storm. "Bully!" cries Teddy, "What a glorious day!" As they ride on through the impressive Yosemite Valley, viewing huge granite formations like Half Dome and El Capitan, Muir continues his tuition, warning of indiscriminate mining, logging, and development (shown in a shadowed frieze). Over mugs of campfire coffee, Roosevelt is convinced that this land must be protected forever. Through energetic action, he created national parks and forests, wildlife sanctuaries, and wilderness areas, while the two campers became admirers and lifetime correspondents. Caldecott-medalist Gerstein's vigorous, shimmering ink and watercolor illustrations capture both the grandeur of nature and the camaraderie of two unusual men, revealing the ideal blend of illustration and imaginative text that makes a true picture book a special work of art. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—Theodore Roosevelt (Teedie) and John Muir (Johnnie) both held important positions—Roosevelt was the youngest President of the United States, and Muir was a world-famous naturalist. In 1903, Roosevelt read of Muir's Sierra Mountain adventures and heard his plea for the government to save the mountain forests. Muir's response resulted in a meeting between Teedie and Johnnie, an adventure of only four days that traversed the wonders of the Yosemite Valley and established an understanding and respect between the two. Based on an actual event in which Roosevelt "dropped politics" and persuaded a reluctant Muir to camp with him, the book presents a fictionalized account of the shared experiences of these two strong-willed personalities that resulted in the addition of 18 national monuments and double the number of national parks. Gerstein's richly colored paint and detailed pen drawings heighten readers' vision of an expanded horizon on the full spreads. Turn the book lengthwise to accommodate the sequoia giants' full height, and back again as tiny vignettes fill the night sky in tales above lingering campfire shadows. Impressions of the wilderness emphasize the grand impact of the event, detailed by an author's note (bibliography and references to the Yosemite Research Library, John Muir National Site, and University of the Pacific Library are included). In interpreting and recording both personal relationships and the historical impact of the meeting, this offering makes a little-known bit of history accessible for younger readers, and encourages further research.—Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Theodore Roosevelt's 1903 trip to the western parks included a backcountry camping trip—complete with snowstorm—with John Muir in the Yosemite Wilderness and informed the president's subsequent advocacy for national parks and monuments. In a boyish three-day adventure, Teedie (Roosevelt) and Johnnie (Muir) dodge, if temporarily, the confines of more formal surroundings to experience firsthand the glories of the mountains and ancient forests. (You can't ever quite take the boy out of the man, and Rosenstock's use of her subjects' childhood names evokes a sense of Neverland ebullience, even as the grownup men decided the fate of the wilderness.) The narrative is intimate and yet conveys the importance of the encounter both as a magnificent getaway for the lively president and a chance for the brilliant environmentalist to tell the trees' side of the story. Gerstein's depiction of the exuberant president riding off with Muir is enchantingly comical and liberating. A lovely two-page spread turns the opening to a long vertical to show the two men in the Mariposa Grove, relatively small even on horseback, surrounded by the hush and grandeur of the giant sequoias, while in another double-page scene, after a photo of the two at Glacier Point, Muir lies on his back at the edge of the canyon, demonstrating to an attentive Roosevelt how the glacier carved the deep valley below. An author's note explains that the dialogue is imagined and reconstructed from Muir's writing as well as from other accounts of the meeting. Wonderfully simple, sweet and engaging. (author's note, source notes) (Picture book. 7-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803737105
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
01/19/2012
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
198,852
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Now a Bank Street 2013 Best Book of the Year and a Parents' Choice Silver Medalist!

 "History accessible for young readers." - starred review, School Library Journal

"Wonderfully simple, sweet and engaging." - Kirkus Reviews

"A compelling account." - The Horn Book

Booklist Top Ten Books on the Environment for Youth

California Library Association Beatty Award

Illinois' Monarch Award List

Maryland's Black-Eyed Susan Award List

South Carolina Picture Book Award List

Meet the Author

Barb Rosenstock (www.barbrosenstock.com) lives with her husband and their children in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

Mordicai Gerstein (www.mordicaigerstein.com) is the author and/or illustrator of numerous books for children, including The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, which was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 2004. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and their daughter, Risa.

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