FICTION

In the Canyon

illus. by Ashley Wolff. 40p. ebook available. glossary. S. & S./Beach Lane. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481403481.
COPY ISBN
PreS-Gr 1—A girl narrates in rhyming couplets the various sights she sees while hiking through Arizona's Grand Canyon, including flora and fauna, park workers, and evidence of past human habitation. An abrupt change in setting on the last page shows the narrator in what appears to be her city bedroom, reflecting on her experiences. A note about the author's experience visiting the Grand Canyon joins a glossary and a short list of websites as back matter. Wolff's bold block print and gouache illustrations, featuring strong black outlines, are the highlight of this offering. Sweeping natural vistas, seen from a point of view just above the action, alternate with close-ups of the narrator and her ranger and animal companions. The large serif typeface, sometimes printed in black and sometimes in white, is easy for beginning readers to decode. However, the words sometimes seem designed more for rhymes than for description or plot ("Now it's really getting steep,/and there's the river, way down deep!"), and couplets occasionally include partial rhymes ("and a lizard, still as sand/his head all speckled, body tan") or an extra syllable that requires eliding when reading aloud ("Here's a little hidey-hole,/home to sneaky squirrel or vole").
VERDICT Purchase if the Grand Canyon is of strong local interest, or to add to a collection in need of easy to read geography picture books.

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