The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks
The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks
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Annotation: In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt joined naturalist John Muir on a camping trip to Yosemite, an experience that led to the establishment of our National Parks.
Catalog Number: #5273205
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Dial
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition Date: 2012
Illustrator: Gerstein, Mordicai,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-8037-3710-6
ISBN 13: 978-0-8037-3710-5
Dewey: 979.4
LCCN: 2011021927
Dimensions: 30 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
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.
Horn Book
In 1903, Roosevelt asked Muir to take him camping in the Yosemite wilderness. By the time the two reached Yosemite, Roosevelt had been persuaded to create "national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and national forests." Rosenstock (as she explains in an author's note) has invented the dialogue here, but the ideas expressed are authentic. Gerstein brings his usual verve to the expedition. Bib.
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)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 1&11;4&12; Theodore Roosevelt (Teedie) and John Muir (Johnnie) both held important positions&12;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.&12; Mary Elam,Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 1,962
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.0 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 148137 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.5 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q56448
Lexile: 740L
Guided Reading Level: N

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.

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