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The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks



by
Barb Rosenstock
illustrated by
Mordicai Gerstein

Edition
-
Publisher
Penguin
Imprint
Dial
ISBN
9780803737105

Awards and Honors
Booklist Top 10 Books for Youth 2012, Environment; NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2013, Environment/Energy/Ecology
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
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1903: Four glorious days in the Yosemite wilderness with naturalist John Muir “turned the outdoor-loving president into one of nature’s fiercest protectors.” Author’s note. Sources. Full-color illustrations.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

32

Trim Size

8 1/2" x 11"

Dewey

979.4/47

AR

5: points 0.5

Lexile

740L

Scholastic Reading Counts

3

JLG Release

Apr 2012

Topics

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919). Yosemite Valley. John Muir (1838-1914). History of national parks and reserves. Environmentalism. History of Yosemite National Park (Calif.).

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
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

Horn Book

After swiftly introducing her two protagonists—contrasting their origins and the different ways they expressed their love of the outdoors (Roosevelt hunted, fished, rode; Muir studied, sketched, wrote about plants)—Rosenstock plunges into their one encounter. Having read Muir’s book pleading for government help to save his beloved mountain forests, Roosevelt asked Muir to take him camping in the Yosemite wilderness. Arriving on May 15, 1903, “Teedie” soon extricated himself from an admiring crowd, “sent his men ahead to set up camp,” and escaped on horseback to gape at giant sequoias, listen to “Johnnie’s” stories, and camp out. The second night, it snowed; by the time the two reached Yosemite, Roosevelt had been persuaded to create “national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and national forests.” They never met again, but “exchanged personal letters for the rest of their lives.” As she explains in a note, Rosenstock has invented the dialogue here, but the ideas expressed are authentic; she lists several sources. Gerstein brings his usual verve to the expedition. Individual portraits show the aristocrat in a crowd of his own amusingly disgruntled children and the solitary, bearded naturalist in his beloved wilderness; companionable scenes portray the two together—exultantly riding, chattering by a campfire, gazing in awe at nature’s magnificence, or imagining the dire consequences of destroying it. “What if everyone owned the wilderness?” Thanks to these two visionaries, we do; thanks to Rosenstock and Gerstein, we have a fine example of an effective government responding to a vital need in a timely manner. List of sources.

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
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

Horn Book

After swiftly introducing her two protagonists—contrasting their origins and the different ways they expressed their love of the outdoors (Roosevelt hunted, fished, rode; Muir studied, sketched, wrote about plants)—Rosenstock plunges into their one encounter. Having read Muir’s book pleading for government help to save his beloved mountain forests, Roosevelt asked Muir to take him camping in the Yosemite wilderness. Arriving on May 15, 1903, “Teedie” soon extricated himself from an admiring crowd, “sent his men ahead to set up camp,” and escaped on horseback to gape at giant sequoias, listen to “Johnnie’s” stories, and camp out. The second night, it snowed; by the time the two reached Yosemite, Roosevelt had been persuaded to create “national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and national forests.” They never met again, but “exchanged personal letters for the rest of their lives.” As she explains in a note, Rosenstock has invented the dialogue here, but the ideas expressed are authentic; she lists several sources. Gerstein brings his usual verve to the expedition. Individual portraits show the aristocrat in a crowd of his own amusingly disgruntled children and the solitary, bearded naturalist in his beloved wilderness; companionable scenes portray the two together—exultantly riding, chattering by a campfire, gazing in awe at nature’s magnificence, or imagining the dire consequences of destroying it. “What if everyone owned the wilderness?” Thanks to these two visionaries, we do; thanks to Rosenstock and Gerstein, we have a fine example of an effective government responding to a vital need in a timely manner. List of sources.

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