JOHN MUIR WRESTLES A WATERFALL by Julie Danneberg

JOHN MUIR WRESTLES A WATERFALL

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A noted naturalist nearly loses his life exploring a waterfall.

In April 1871, when explorer and early environmentalist John Muir was living in Yosemite Valley, he decided to climb up to and under its falls with near-disastrous results. Danneberg has taken an incident Muir described twice in articles about Yosemite for the Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, in 1890 and 1912, and turned it into a surprisingly suspenseful survival story for a 21st-century audience. There are two parallel texts at the beginning—one that works for reading aloud and another, in a slightly smaller font, that provides more explanation and background. But at the climax, it becomes one story, and a very scary one at that, as the falling water shifts and pins Muir against the granite wall. The rough strokes of the pastel-and–colored-pencil illustrations emphasize the texture of the rock, water and wood of the natural world Muir loved. Though sometimes dark (this was an evening adventure), these images show nicely at a distance. Pictured at the beginning and the end are quotations from Muir’s writings, penned in script that will probably stump young readers, emphasizing his steady habit of journal-keeping. A final author’s note explains more about Muir’s life and work, as well as about Yosemite.

A welcome addition to the modern collection of John Muir’s adventures. (Internet resources, bibliography, citations) (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: March 10th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-58089-586-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2015




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