A gentle introduction to the natural world and the words of John Muir.
A useful version of Muir himself, sporting a brown beard with no mustache, white skin, blue vest, white shirt, and brown trousers, appears on each double-page spread. Dubbed “Little Muir” on the cover but not on the inner pages, this sole human character hikes mountains, rock-hops across a river, snoozes under and climbs up trees, and listens to bird song. One line of Muir’s own words, taken from John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir (edited by Linnie Marsh Wolfe, 1979) and focusing on humanity’s spiritual connection to nature, appears on either or both sides of each tableau: “The sun shines not on us but in us. // The rives flow not past, but through us.” Youngsters may not grasp the big ideas, poetic musings, and how it all relates to Muir (or even who he was), but the reverence for the Earth comes through with each page turn. With round, friendly lines reminiscent of Wanda Gág’s work, the jewel-toned landscapes evoke the vistas of Yosemite National Park, which Muir helped preserve.
This offering isn’t much of an introduction to Muir, but it is a lovely poetic meditation on the natural world. (Board book. 2-4)