Starting from their campsite at the bottom of the 1,000-foot-deep Inner Gorge, an Asian-American child and her dad traverse three separate habitats until they arrive at the South Rim, 22 miles later.
Descriptions of the landscape, plants, and animals are provided alongside a running commentary of the geologic history of the canyon’s formation. Gorgeously detailed artwork captures this unique ecological niche’s amazing diversity of life. The borders framing most pages are filled with illustrations depicting the rock strata, flora, and fauna associated with the different elevations of the canyon. Small, shaped die-cut windows highlight fossilized trilobites, shells, and footprints and provide gateways to imaginative flashbacks to the canyon’s past, while a gatefold reveals a magnificent panoramic view of the truly grand canyon at sunset. In approaching his subject, Chin uses the relatively dry factual approach he employed in Island (2012) rather than the wonderfully successful fusion of fact and imagination he introduced in Redwoods (2009) and Coral Reefs (2011). Inexplicably, a guidebook to the Grand Canyon (this very book?) remains in the girl’s backpack—in effect relegating the child’s role to observer rather than engaged participant save for a few imaginary trips to the past. Despite the wealth of maps provided, there isn’t one clearly delineating the journey undertaken by father and daughter. Appended are comprehensive background notes, bibliography, and further reading. The in-depth information is easily accessible to curious readers of any age.
Beautiful but, sadly, not as immersive as Chin’s fans may hope. (Informational picture book. 6-11)