A panoramic sampler of our park system’s flora, fauna, and other natural wonders.
Siber and Turnham map all 60 parks but highlight 21 of the more popular ones. For each of the latter, a general introduction is paired with a big landscape (or underwater) view on one spread, and the next follows up with a small location map plus images of 10 or so distinctive plants, animals, and geological features with brief descriptive comments. The entries are arranged in geographical groups going, roughly, east to west but in no logical itinerary. Created digitally in a serigraphic style, the art has a retro, travel-poster look that complements the breezy narrative’s message that these are places worth visiting: “Just about everything in the 49th state is bigger and gnarlier than in the Lower 48.” Family groups hiking, swimming, or marveling at vistas in most of the larger pictures are (for a change) more often dark-skinned than light. Though the art’s palette runs to muted greens, blues, and oranges, figures stand out sharply—in contrast to the smaller blocks of text, which are printed in a skinny-skinny type that can be hard to see when placed over dark or multihued backgrounds. Still, readers fond of outdoorsy activities will respond to this inviting array of sites, scenery, and wildlife in natural settings.
An eyeful for active or armchair vacationers, though more a general overview than a guidebook. (index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)