Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Last week, GRAND CANYON won NCTE's Orbis Pictus, for best nonfiction children's book of the year. This morning, I read GRAND CANYON, and I can definitely see why. I don't think I can do this beautiful, multi-layered picture book justice, I think it's one you will have to read for yourself but I'm going to try to describe it, just a little.

GRAND CANYON follows a little girl and her father as they hike the South Trail from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the rim. Most pages have "snapshots" of the discoveries the little girl makes as she hikes. Some pages devoted to specific animals- the California condor, the mountain goat, and dragonflies. There are also pages that show what the Grand Canyon looked like during times when it was covered by water, with the little girl swimming, surrounded by creatures. And many of the pages have a cut out that leads to a fossil on the next page.

Swimming in the sea, millions of years ago
The gorgeous watercolor (I think) illustrations and the rich factual text would probably be enough. However, they are only the beginning. Each illustration is placed directly is placed directly on top of another illustration- usually some kind of a diagram associated with a particular layer of of the canyon, or of the wildlife that lives in that area.
California condor page, along with diagram of sedimentation, most of the pages contain both kinds of information

The book has lots of special features, including cut outs to the fossils, and one spread that opens out to a double wide. End matter includes pages of factual information about the geology, ecology, history, and human life in the Grand Canyon, as well as an author's note. The front end page is a map of the Grand Canyon, the back is a generalized cross section of the area.

I could see giving it to someone planning a trip to the Grand Canyon. A person, child or adult, could spend hours and hours and hours with this book and notice something new every time they read it. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow!

1 comment:

Linda B said...

I loved this book, Carol, wish I would have had it when I took my students to the Grand Canyon. It's wonderful how chin includes for much about this special place through telling a story.