Age Range: 8 - 12
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Climbing the Rocky Mountains, from foothills to summit, naturalist Grupper (Destination: Deep Sea, not reviewed, etc.) takes the reader along on his adventure introducing some of the wildlife and plants that live and thrive at the different levels of the ancient mountains. Lavish full-color photographs in characteristic National Geographic style embellish every page with broad sweeps of the changing landscape and close-up details of plants and animals, including bison, mountain goats, grouse, beavers, wolves, bear, pika, and more. While photographs are arresting, it may be difficult for the reader to connect the first-person text by the unseen narrator with the photographs. For example, Grupper states at 6,000 feet: “You’re climbing again, but this time to the top of a cottonwood tree. Behind the cover of leaves you can hide on a makeshift wooden platform, called a blind. In the valley below, the bison gather around the calf to protect her. A pack of hungry coyotes have slipped within the herd.” But what the reader sees is a double-paged close-up photograph of a pair of coyotes panting as they race through the dew-sparkled grass. Two pages later, at 7,000 feet, the reader is aboard a whitewater raft crashing into rapids and examining a beaver pond. From base to summit in 32 dizzying pages. The author concludes with a map of the Rocky Mountains, an afterword about their formation, microclimates, and the need to conserve the wildness. Beautiful and exciting—but hard to follow. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7922-7722-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: National Geographic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2001