The National Parks: Preserving America’s Wild Places

First Second. (History Comics). May 2022. 128p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781250265883; Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250265876.
Gr 5-7–Trotting in Bigfoot as tour guide and spokescryptid for all of our national parks, monuments, and historical sites, Koch offers both a general celebration of their wonders and value and a history of how they came to be. This begins with the forcible removal of the indigenous Miwoks from the Ahwahnee valley (later renamed “Yosemite”) in 1851 and continues on to the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone in the 1990s. Koch includes nuanced introductions to significant figures and visionaries of the past, from Presidents Grant and Roosevelts to John Muir (an overt racist, for all his good works) and Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Readers will come away understanding how the parks and other preserves as we know them today are the products of often violent struggles between competing interests: native populations and would-be settlers; commercial exploiters and preservers of wild places; strict conservationists and officials bent on improving access with new roads and facilities. Brightly colored cartoon art in sequential panels featuring animated people (notably an excitable Teddy Roosevelt, who positively bounds across some pages) and wild creatures livens up the substantial informational load, which is presented almost entirely as dialogue and capped by a time line to 2019 and a short list of print resources.
VERDICT Middle grade readers visiting any of the hundreds of national park sites will find their enjoyment and appreciation of the experience much enhanced by this graphic overview.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing