Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This week I'm soaking up Ken Burns' newest documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea. And last night I enjoyed the second episode with a brand new picture book in hand.
Camping With The President is a marvelous story about 4 days when President Theodore Roosevelt slipped away from the Secret Service, ignored official business, and went camping in Yosemite Valley in California.

Roosevelt had always been an outdoorsman but being president limited his ability to get into the wilds. Upon reading John Muirs' book Our National Parks, Roosevelt made plans to spend some time in the wilderness.

"I want to drop politics absolutely for four days..." he said.

In this historically accurate book, Roosevelt meets Muir and off they go on a wilderness adventure. The reader enjoys watching the president of the United States escape the crowds and feels his excitement at being in the forest, waking up under a blanket of snow, and cooking bacon and eggs over a campfire.

Roosevelt's enthusiasm for the giant sequoia trees, the tiny forest animals, and splendid waterfalls is communicated on every page of the book. Author Ginger Wadsworth, clearly shares his appreciation for America's great outdoors and her attitude is contagious.

In addition to her highly readable story, Wadsworth includes additional resources and other backmatter regarding Yosemite, Muir, and Roosevelt.

I loved watching the documentary with this book in hand - comparing Karen Dugan's watercolor illustrations to the images on the TV screen, and finding quotes by Roosevelt in the text.

Camping With The President covers only a small part of the second episode in the documentary. The segment had much more to say about the influence of Muir and Roosevelt on our National Park system. But the spirit behind their influence is beautifully captured in this picture book for elementary students!

Camping with the President
Ginger Wadsworth
Karen Dugan

Ages: 8 and up
Grades: 4–6
Pages: 32
List Price: 16.95
Cover: Hardcover
Published: 9/1/2009

1 comment:

  1. As the author of CAMPING WITH THE PRESIDENT, I am delighted with your lovely comments, Joyce. Thank you so much! I've forwarded your blog to the illustrator, Karen Dugan. Now to watch the next segment of Ken Burns' documentary. It's awesome! And on Friday, I'll actually be in Yosemite National Park. What a week!!
    Ginger Wadsworth