Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Camping Trip That Changed America
I feel truly honored to review this delightful book. I had read so much early press about it on several nonfiction blogs. The story intrigued me, especially since we recently took the boys to Muir Woods, named for naturalist John Muir. I was lucky enough to win my a copy from one of my favorite blogs, Teaching Authors. And Barb wrote a beautiful inscription to Cooper and Finley so that they’ll always remember their trip to Muir Woods.
Author: Barb Rosenstock
Illustrator: Mordicai Gerstein
Publication Info: Dial Books for Young Readers – Penguin Young Readers Group, 2012
Intended audience: Ages 6 to 8
Genre: nonfiction, picture book
Themes/topics: U.S. history, nature
Opening and synopsis: “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.”
Rosenstock focuses on a brief excursion in 1903 when famed naturalist John Muir and then-President Theodore Roosevelt camped amongst the giant sequoias in the Yosemite wilderness. The two grown men swapped tales and relived their boyhood during their three-night camp out. Though Johnnie and Teedie never saw each other again after the trip, they became lifelong friends, and that friendship influenced outdoorsman Roosevelt, spurring him to protect more of America’s wilderness. Roosevelt subsequently helped establish 18 national monuments and 55 bird sanctuaries and game preserves. He also added 148 million acres to the National Forest system and doubled the number of National Parks, according to Rosenstock’s notes in the back of the book.
Resources: Rosenstock’s site has a lesson plan for teachers and parents, which is written to Common Core Standards. The boys and I also enjoyed exploring the Yosemite Web site, taking in numerous photos and videos of the majestic park. There are separate sections for kids and teachers.
Why I like this book: As a writer, I am always interested in narrative frameworks. In this book, Rosenstock focuses in on a period of four days, yet these few days have far-reaching impact in America’s history. This approach stands in sharp contrast to books that attempt to cover whole lives of well-known figures or entire historical periods. By narrowing her focus, Rosenstock is able to explore the camping trip in great detail, drawing upon primary resources like newspaper articles and government reports.
Mordicai Gerstein won a Caldecott Medal in 2004 for The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. His illustrations capture the beauty and majesty of the ancient redwood forests.
This book would be a great read for Arbor Day or Earth Day. Or, if you have budding naturalists or history buffs, this book is a perfect everyday read.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.
36 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Camping Trip That Changed America”
I’m so happy you won a copy and could review it. I’m asking for this from our library. Sounds like a wonderful story on so many levels.
My boys keep picking it up. Even my three-year-old loves to flip through the illustrations of the giant sequoias.
How interesting. I believe my son and I watched a documentary on Roosevelt called A Campfire Conversation showing his pursuit to preserve the wilderness. I have a feeling he would really enjoy this book. Thanks for sharing your review Kirsten.
Here is the link for the video – http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/for-educators/lesson-plans/
Cool. We’ll check out the video. Ken Burns’s series from (last year?) was amazing too.
My daughter loves stories about presidents. I haven’t heard of this one. We will have to check it out — the cover art is stunning!
I hope you enjoy it. And I think congrats are in order? I was listening to Katie Davis’s podcast, and I think you won a critique?
What a great book. I haven’t seen one in a while that combines history like that. So glad you won it!
I never win anything, so I was very excited to tear into the envelope.
I know nothing about this history, and I so want to find out more, now! thank you.
You’ll enjoy it Joanna. It’s very engaging and well-researched.
I love books like this. What a unique story about a special time in history. Didn’t Rosevelt also create both the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Youth Conservations Corps for the national and state forests — as a way to maintain them and put thousands of men to work. I remember writing about it 30 some years ago. I will have to get this book!
I think that was Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Depression…a few years later.
Oh, I really want to read this! I have been to Muir Woods a couple times (when I was far too young to appreciate it, I’m afraid!) but I do remember the giant redwoods. I love stories like this that read like stories but are true. This is an interesting subject, and I’m so glad to be adding this book to our list. Thanks, Kirsten!
Well, Susanna, you’ll just have to come back to California with the kids. There are so many fantastic parks!
Very cool. Some of our favorite camping places when we were traveling the country were in National Parks. Those parks really and truly are national treasures and I’m grateful for that camping trip!
To be specific, I am grateful for the camping trip in the book. 🙂
I guessed as much, Heather. It’s one of those “butterfly flaps its wings” kind of moments that created such lasting and amazing treasures.
WOW! This is an awesome book! My parents have told me about how President Roosevelt started the National Parks. I have to get this book!
Eric, you will love it. You should also check out Rosenstock’s other titles too, like “Fearless” her story of a female race-car driver.
Wow, this book looks amazing. We live a little over an hour from Yosemite so I could see getting this book to read before the next time we go. Thanks, Kirsten!
I went with my dad to Yosemite years ago. The book brought back such great memories.
Oh wow. This book is so awesome! I have never read a picture book that had a camping trip in it. I will order this book, asap! Thanks for the great review and for putting me onto this wonderful book. 🙂
It’s a beautiful story. I know you’ll enjoy it over and over again.
Kirsten, this looks like a great book. My daughter just read George Washington’s Socks which also involves history and storytelling as well as a little magic. I’ll have to tell her about this. Great choice.
A2ZMommy and What’s In Between
Wow, the husband was just in DC and did a Mt. Vernon tour (GW is one of his favorites). I’ll have to check out what appears to be a fun story about his hero.
This book sounds interesting and beautiful. I grew up in Western Colorado near the town of Redstone. It is beautiful there and we always heard tales of Roosevelt. There is a castle in the small, quaint town and Roosevelt spent time there. So, this book is of particular interest to me. Thanks for bringing it to my attention and adding it to the list.
Roosevelt was quite the outdoorsman. We certainly have him, Muir and others to thank for protecting so much natural beauty throughout our country!
This looks like something my children would have enjoyed when they were younger.. Thanks for the review.
I have to admit, I love reading it too. It’s so full of great historical information.
Wonderful review. I will try to find this book at my local library.
I love the library. I check out tons of books and then buy the one I fall in love with. This one would have been a “buy” for me had I not won it. Thanks for stopping by!
Don’t know how I missed this pick, so thanks for the extra link.