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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL PAINTINGS ENHANCE A WONDERFUL WORK FOR CHILDREN.,
This review is from: Squirrel and John Muir (Hardcover)All of characters peopling this work actually existed as was and still are the geographical locations. The author has taken this information, the different personalities and traits of each individual character and blended them together into a story that might have been.
This tale is mainly about Floy Hutchings, whose nick name was Squirrel due to her Tom Boy ways, rebellious nature and general free spirit and her encounter with America's most famous Naturalist, John Muir. Around 1868 the Hutchings family owned a hotel and what we would now call a "dude ranch" in the Yosemite valley where Floy pretty well ran wild, causing trouble for not only her family, but also rather annoying the tourist who came to visit. "A very strange little girl," it was noted by more than one visitor! The Hutchings family needed help in constructing some buildings and when John Muir showed up at the front door seeking work he fit the bill, as he was rather skillful in constructing, inventing and handy with tools.
Muir had come to the area to observed, gather facts, write and publish his theories that the region was originally formed my glaciers; a fact which was not accepted in the scientific world at that time.
This entire book is the story of the possible relationship between this wild and rebellious young lady and John Muir who passed his love of nature, the land and his philosophy on to young Floy. Muir was about 30 years old at the time and had not come into his own and was not internationally known as he later become. This story is a sweet one, well told emphasizing the love, wonder, delight and tenderness Muir had toward nature and his ability to pass it on to the next generation.
We have a very well written text here that tells us a story that while probably not absolutely historically accurate, certainly passes along the true spirit and nature of the individuals involved. It is a story that not only might have been, but really should have been.
The art work, in the form of double page water colors is an absolute marvel to examine and relish. The artist, who is also the author, has captured the grandeur of the area perfectly while not neglecting small details while at the same time perfectly portraying Muir, Squirrel and the other characters. Visually this book is a true treat.
The author has provided the reader with a good afterward letting us know, briefly, what became of both Muir and Floy, which I found to be quite interesting.
Now please take note. We have some very nice reviews posted here, but a couple of points must be made. First, Floy (or Squirrel) was NOT Muir's daughter! Secondly, Floy Hutchings did not live to become a famous guide in the park, but was rather killed at the age of 16 in a tragic accident. This in no way should be construed as criticism of these reviews, only a bit of friendly adjusting just to keep the reader straight.
This is a great book to help children become interested in the natural world around them and to introduce them to one of the greatest men in our history. It is a great read along book and a wonderful picture book to just leaf through and enjoy. It belongs in ever library, and indeed, in ever child's private library. This is a work that is a joy to read to the little ones and it leave the reader plenty of room to add more information as the book progresses...I like that.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A SPLENDID STORY THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN TRUE,
This review is from: Squirrel and John Muir (Hardcover)When author/artist Emily Arnold McCully set her sights on famed naturalist John Muir and a little girl whom he met in Yosemite in 1868 the result was a splendid story which isn't totally true - but, it could have been.
At that time Muir was 30-years-old. He'd been to college, worked at several jobs, and felt a strong call to commune with nature and discover its laws. When he arrived in Yosemite hoping to prove his theory of glacial formation, he was hired by James Hutchings, an English journalist bent on attracting tourism to the area. Hutchings was also bent on one other task - taming his spirited daughter, Floy. Here was a girl who never wanted to grow up because then she'd have to be a lady. A thought quite repellant to the rebellious young miss whose nickname was Squirrel. She happily spent hours "talking to the family's pet parrot, balancing on a plank by the woodpile, making mud pies, and capturing frogs."
As the story develops Muir and Squirrel soon become the best of friends as he shows her how to see through his eyes the incredible surroundings in which she lives.
It is not known whether or not Floy grew up to be a lady, but it is known that John Muir became famous and the world has benefitted by what he learned.
- Gail Cooke
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable,
This review is from: Squirrel and John Muir (Hardcover)This book is about John Muir--an early naturalist in Yosemite Valley who founded the Sierra Club--and his young daughter called "Squirrel" This beautiful picture book is designed for early elementary. I would put together information about Muir--e.g., [...] --along with photos of Yosemite Valley so the students could imagine what it would be like to want to protect the land. This book would make a good historical bridge to science and environmental studies.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet story and a good intro to John Muir for children,
This review is from: Squirrel and John Muir (Hardcover)My kids enjoyed this book and the illustrations were nice. Not a favorite, but definitely captivating enough to intro John Muir and use as a springboard to nature study with little ones.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Illustrated book for kids,
This review is from: Squirrel and John Muir (Hardcover)This book is a nice illustration of Yosemite Park.
It may serve as a good beginning for a little kid's spiritual path.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Award Winning Book,
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This review is from: Squirrel and John Muir (Hardcover)While the story alone is enough to engage even the most rambunctious children aged 4-8 and lead them to study nature, author-illustrator Emily Arnold McCully's natural watercolor artwork makes the words on the page come alive and awakens a yearning to experience nature too. There is more of the main character, a girl nicknamed "Squirrel," in most of us than we would like to admit! The book's images show us a spritely dynamo of a girl who goes from 'rebellious' to 'inquisitive' as her mentor, John Muir, a gentle giant of a man, teaches her many object lessons and observational skills in the great outdoors. This book won the 2005 Giverny Award, given annually for the best children's science picture book. McCully's artwork gives us a sense of moments of self-discovery in nature, frozen in time. In the story, Muir honed her powers of observation by his own example. He had not lost his childlike sense of wonder, even though, when he arrived at her father's hotel, SHE almost had. The sheer joy of studying nature with Muir gradually replaced her delight in causing trouble. Near the end of the story, Floy (Squirrel) even became a nature guide for the tourists who visited the Yosemite Valley. The torch had been passed to another generation.
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Squirrel and John Muir by Emily Arnold McCully (Hardcover - September 10, 2004)