I’ve been writing a picture book story about a camping trip one of our Presidents took with several special friends. And then one of my critique buddies suggested I read a particular book as a mentor text: The Camping Trip That Changed America, written by Barb Rosenstock.
Barb Rosenstock? Oh my goodness! She’s going to be at the WOW Retreat in July. I will get to meet this amazing nonfiction picture book writer. Better than that, I will get writing advice from her!
So I immediately got a copy of the book and, since this is Perfect Picture Book Friday, I decided to share it with all of you.
The Camping Trip That Changed America
Written by Barb Rosenstock
Illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Reader (2012)
Themes: Conservation, National Parks
“Teedie and Johnnie didn’t have much in common—but they shared a love of the outdoors. They both loved a good story, too. And that was enough to change America.”
In 1903, Theodore Roosevelt read John Muir’s book on the Sierra Nevada, which ended with a plea for government to save the vanishing forests. The president asked Muir to take him camping in the Yosemite wilderness, and two months later, Roosevelt followed his knowledgeable guide into the mountains, through the valley, and among the giant sequoia trees. Returning to Washington, the president pushed to pass the laws that created national parks and forests as well as wildlife sanctuaries. The very readable text focuses as much on the men’s enjoyment of the outdoors as on the historical importance of their camping trip. Gerstein contributes a wonderfully varied yet coherent set of line-and-watercolor illustrations, including small portraits of the men, a memorable scene showing two figures dwarfed by giant sequoias, and a close-up of the men talking around their campfire. In an appended note, Rosenstock includes information left out of the story and mentions that some scenes were imagined. A short list of sources is included. This colorful picture book humanizes two significant individuals in American history.
Why I like this book:
- This is a moment in history that comes alive for children, emphasizing the fact that the wilderness needs to be preserved and that one person CAN make a difference.
- The line and watercolor illustrations are wonderful…the artist succeeds in allowing us to feel the majesty of the Sequoias.
- The author gives us just enough dialogue to help us feel a part of each scene.
How a parent can use this book and related activites:
- Great read-aloud.
- Check out a map of the United States with your child…find all of the national parks…how many did Theodore Roosevelt create?
- The story can be a springboard for a discussion about the importance of preserving the wilderness and thinking about ways the entire family can participate in conservation.
Make a map
Photo courtesy: http://mrprintables.com
Go here for printable maps: http://mrprintables.com/printable-map-of-the-united-states.html
Once you’ve made the map, mark the location of each National Park.
And for more wonderful picture book reviews, visit Susanna Hill.
Oh…wait a minute…didn’t I promise to give away a book? Yes I did! For one of the people who commented on Artie Bennett’s post...remember?
And the winner is…
SETWIGS…please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org with your address so I can send you a copy of the Kissed by an Angel anthology!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!