Michele's Reviews > The Camping Trip That Changed America

The Camping Trip That Changed America by Barb Rosenstock
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Sep 10, 12

bookshelves: childrens-non-fiction, picture-books, monarch
Read in August, 2012

This beautiful book tells of the meeting of naturalist John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt during a camping trip at Yosemite that inspired President Roosevelt to declare 18 national monuments including the Grand Canyon. Roosevelt is known for increasing the number of national parks and preserving large amounts of wilderness.

This book specifically focuses on the camping trip, the same trip that was featured in PBS's "National Parks" documentary program. It is a well-worded story with funny bits and beautiful illustrations. There are moments that sum of Muir’s knowledge and Roosevelt's joy in nature well, such as when Roosevelt woke up covered in snow. An entire two-page spread is gloriously illustrated in blues and whites with the sun coming up. Only a few short sentences tells us that it snowed on them overnight, and then "Teedie" stretches and says with his arms spread, "What a glorious day!" in bold script.

I really like this book: text, illustrations, and message. However, I did have some difficulty near the end of the book when I read the book aloud to 2nd graders. The repeated questioning of "What if everyone owned the wilderness? What if both rich and poor could spend time out in the open? What if we could save the forests for all the children to come?” sounded too preachy when trying to communicate with young children. One minute we were on a camping adventure, and then suddenly I should be shouting about the vision to save the forests. On that page, the story fell, although it picked up again when the book describes how both Muir and Roosevelt are buried under different groves of trees. Independent readers might not have this performance difficulty.

I particularly love the opening of the book: "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." Overall it is a wonderful story about a quiet, but significant event.
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Quotes Michele Liked

Barb Rosenstock
“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.”
Barb Rosenstock, The Camping Trip That Changed America


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