Monday, May 18, 2015

John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall

John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall
by Julie Dannenberg; illus. by Jamie Hogan
32 pages; ages 4-8
Charlesbridge, 2015

You don't go to Yosemite without hearing about John Muir. You can't grow up in the western US without hearing tales of this intrepid explorer and conservationist. And with 2016 being a celebratory year for National Parks, this is a fine time to explore some books about this early explorer.

From 1868 to 1871, Muir lived in Yosemite Valley where he ran a small lumber mill. What I like about this book is Julie Dannenberg's description of that waterfall:
       careening wildly over the side of the mountain."

The beauty of this waterfall lures Muir, and so one night in early April he decides to explore it. Here is the delicious description of his journey:
"He climbs up, over loose and slippery gravel beds.... He is so close to the waterfall that the mist brushes his face..."

But that is not close enough. No, Muir decides he must climb up a ledge and behind the falls. And now it is a foaming, thundering waterfall on one side, hard granite on the other: a John Muir sandwich that nearly ends in disaster. But it doesn't, and Muir writes about his adventure.

I love that there is back matter: a couple pages about John Muir and Yosemite, some resources and books for curious naturalists, and a few citations for those who want to know where the author pulled her Muir quotes.

Today we're joining the roundup over at the Nonfiction Monday blog where you'll find even more book reviews. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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