You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks

Atheneum/S. & S./. Jun. 2019. 56p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534432826.
PreS-Gr 3–Turk takes readers on a visual journey through 25 national parks with the effect of perusing a travelogue. Each landscape spread features a different park subtly named in the bottom corner that sometimes includes wildlife or human visitors. The illustrations, rendered in pastel on black paper are, with a few notable exceptions (the Arches, Everglades, and Biscayne), predominantly dark. Touches of yellows, blues, and greens lighten most pages, but the cumulative effect is one of darkness. Endpapers depict a sunrise and a starry night sky; most pages in between have a dawn, dusk or nighttime feel. Back matter includes a U.S. map with all 58 National Parks indicated, author notes, and further information about the featured parks and animals. Unfortunately, the print on the “More About” page is so small only the hardiest of young readers might believe it was meant for them. The text is indeed a classic ode with the refrain, “you are home.” Turk first addresses the creatures you might encounter in the parks, turns his attention to “the child in the city,” “the child on the farm,” and then immigrants and “ancestors,” touching upon the irony that many of these lands were home to Native Americans before the “stars and stripes took them as their own,” only to preserve the land as “a place for all.”
VERDICT Rather than sparking young readers’ interest in our National Parks, this earnest but abstract picture book will be most appreciated by those who are already familiar with them

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