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The Adventures of Bubba Jones: Time Traveling Through the Great Smoky Mountains (A National Park Series) Paperback – August 11, 2015
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It has been said by many librarians that the Harry Potter books―with their creative character development and imaginative plots―brought youngsters back to reading books. In that same light, Jeff Alt's creative new book, The Adventures of Bubba Jones: Time Traveling Through the Great Smoky Mountains, holds the promise of bringing kids back to nature and the great outdoors. Alt, a fine writer and a skilled outdoorsman, has created a wonder world for young readers in this lively historical fiction set in the misty peaks and hollows of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Blending geology, biology, history, fantasy ,and outdoor adventure, Alt's endearing characters take young readers on a magical "time-travel" through the Smokies. Along the way, they'll have a cracking good read while also learning a lot(Arthur McDade, Great Smoky Mountains National Park ranger (ret.), and the author of "Old Smoky Mountain Days," "The Natural Arches of the Big South Fork", and a contributor to "The Encyclopedia of Appalachia")
Kids (and grown-ups) will love this adventurous time-traveling tour of the Great Smoky Mountains. Jeff Alt has woven the science and history of the Smokies into a family adventure that's so fun-filled kids won't even realize how much they are learning! Can't wait for the next book!(Emily Morgan, author of the "Next Time You See" picture book series and co-author of "Picture-Perfect Science Lessons")
The use of ‘time-travel’ in the Great Smokies is a delightful way to interpret the area, and a method of factual presentation which captures the reader's interest most effectively. It is evident that Jeff Alt has done exhaustive research, and has presented the characters truthfully, and with respect. The family characters that Jeff Alt created show a sincere, genuine, and respectful interest in the people that they meet in time travel. I like the discussion questions that are presented. They stand to be an outstanding educational tool for teachers(Joe Kelley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park ranger (ret.) and co-author of "Meigs Line")
Alt blends backpacking with The Magic Tree House. Bubba Jones and his family have the ability to travel through time. They use these powers to explore Great Smoky Mountain National Park, from its early settlers, to its logging days, to its park inauguration. This clever spin on children’s outdoor literature is sure to make every kid want to hit the trail.(Catherina Leipold, Backpacker Magazine)
If you like adventures, mysteries, and learning new things, then read this book!(Bekah H., 4th grader, age 10)
Tommy "Bubba Jones" and his sister Jenny "Hug-a-Bug" learn more about the Great Smoky Mountain National Park than they ever thought they would when Papa Lewis lets them in on a family secret: The family has legendary time traveling skills! With these abilities, Bubba Jones and Hug-a-Bug travel back in time and meet the park's founders, its earliest settlers, native Cherokee Indians, wild animals, extinct creatures, and what the park was like millions of years ago. With this time traveling ability also comes a family mystery, but the only person who can help solve the mystery is a long lost relative who lives somewhere in the park. Explore the Smokies with Bubba Jones and family in a whole new way in the pages of Jeff Alt's "The Adventures of Bubba Jones: Time Traveling Through the Great Smoky Mountains". Very highly recommended for school and community libraries for young readers ages 8 to 12.(Midwest Book Review)
The first installment of this series, by Jeff Alt, is sure to get kids passionate about nature again. In The Adventures of Bubba Jones: Time Travelling Through the Great Smoky Mountains, Tommy and Jenny (aka "Bubba Jones" and "Hug-a-Bug") discover their family has a secret like no other - they can travel through time! Bubba and Hug-a-Bug use these newfound abilities to spice up their camping getaway to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park - by meeting the park founders and earliest settlers, and witnessing the park's rich history firsthand!(Green Teacher Magazine's Fall 2017 Issue)
About the Author
Jeff Alt's adventures have been featured on ESPN, Hallmark Channel, in the AP, and more. Alt is a celebrated author and a talented speaker. He is the author of Four Boots One Journey, Get Your Kids Hiking, and A Walk for Sunshine. A Walk for Sunshine, won the Gold in the 2009 Book of the Year awards sponsored by Fore Word Reviews, it took first place winner in the 2009 National Best Books Awards Sponsored by USA Book News, and won a Bronze in the 2010 Living Now Book Awards sponsored by Jenkins Group. Get Your Kids Hiking won the Bronze in both the 2014 Living Now Book Awards, and the 2013 IndieFab Award in Family and Relationships. Alt is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA). He has walked the Appalachian Trail, the John Muir Trail with his wife, and he carried his 21-month old daughter across a path of Ireland.
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My sons, ages 8 and 9 enjoyed all aspects of the book but I’m not sure it it would have been as interesting to them if they were not familiar with the area of the Great Smoky Mountains already.
First off, it's based on facts about National Park's, even why they were planned and their political history, but not told in a dry way. We hear a great deal about Lewis & Clark, which is very interesting. If I was a teacher I would use this novel to do some theme teaching with history and geography. This initial book follows two kids and their grandpa into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It has maps and lists (my son got quite a bit of confusion followed by giggles when it said you needed to bring a spade "to dig your cat hole"). Papa is a lovable character that has some special qualities in regard to time travel. This part actually made my kid sit up and say "REALLY?", which was a good question since I had prefaced the book by saying it was nonfiction.
So it's nonfiction facts plus a fun fictional narrative that is fast-paced and relatable. The back says it's for about grade 5 and I agree. My 3rd grader needs me to help read it to him, and we take turns. He handles lists and I handle chapters.
Definitely a nice read, a wholesome read, and the time travel is fun too.
This special ability is passed to every other generation and is a carefully guarded secret. Using that power, Bubba and his family get to see incredible scenes from the park's past, and even times before the park was founded. Imagine if you could read an historical marker and decide to travel back and see the actual event. The Lewis family visits events like the dedication ceremony of the park and also goes back to see when elk and buffalo roamed the area. They also search for Papa Lewis's cousin Will. Papa hasn't seen him in 40 years, since the camping trip when his grandfather passed the journal and his time travel ability on to Papa Lewis.
Combining the present day adventures of hiking and camping with the historical trips gives the reader a wonderful introduction to the park. My students live within sight of the park, so many of the locations will be very familiar to them - names like Cades Cove, Sugarlands, Clingman's Dome, and Gatlinburg will conjure up personal memories of family trips to those spots. But the additional information about the Cherokee people, early settlers, and efforts to create the park will build on those experiences and generate a greater appreciation for our local heritage.
I would recommend this book to families planning a trip to the park, those who are interested in outdoor stories, or readers who enjoy family stories in general. It would also be easy to build a novel study around this book and combine it with research into the national parks or early American expansion across the Appalachians. The author provides a suggested list of topics and discussion questions as well as a bibliography. There is also the added benefit of the title being part of a series; if readers enjoy this book, they can reach for the next one and continue on with Bubba to the next park he explores.
I received a copy of the book from the author for review purposes.
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As such, I don't want to take away stars for that reason.