- Age Range: 6 - 8 years
- Grade Level: 1 - 3
- Lexile Measure: AD900L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 3, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670011320
- ISBN-13: 978-0670011322
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 9.6 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,023,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Yellowstone Moran: Painting the American West Hardcover – September 3, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3–5—Thomas Moran was an artist/illustrator who, in 1871, left the comforts of civilization to join a scientific expedition to the then largely unexplored Yellowstone region. He had never been an adventurer, but what he lacked in skill he made up for in effort. His detailed drawings, paintings, and journal entries helped convince the U.S. Congress to make Yellowstone our first national park. Judge's account of Moran's adventures is interesting and engaging. Though somewhat fictionalized, it is based on firsthand accounts. Throughout the story Judge includes quotations from Moran's notebooks and from the journals of others on the expedition. An author's note mentions Moran's further adventures, but there is little about his earlier life. Judge's watercolors are done in the style of Moran's artwork. They are painted with energetic lines and the rich, earthy colors of the American West. A reproduction of the artist's famous painting, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, appears on the final page. This book does a great job of introducing a somewhat obscure artist to a young audience.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT END
Rare is the book that makes painting seem adventurous, but this true-life account of Thomas Moran’s journey to the land called “Yellowstone” does just that. Although Moran “had never ridden a horse, never shot a gun, and never slept in the open air,” his itch to paint the wildness of nature led him to sign up with Dr. Hayden’s seminal journey into the Rockies. Although only one actual Moran painting is included, Judge’s expressive watercolors are visually exciting in their own right, using careful blotches to suggest facial expressions and interlocking swaths of browns and yellows to depict the glorious expanse of a thousand-foot canyon. Most impressive of all are the cataclysmic whites used to illustrate the exploding base of a waterfall (with a tiny Moran sitting at his easel in the foreground). Chronicling the expedition’s many struggles, Judge makes a powerful argument for visiting Yellowstone and appreciating Moran’s efforts. Get readers hooked with this one, and when they’re older, bring on Susanna Reich’s Painting the Wild Frontier (2008). Grades 1-3. --Daniel Kraus
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Top customer reviews
Early fur trappers brought back unbelievable tales of a strange land high in the Rocky Mountains. At last, in 1871, the Hayden expedition headed into this wild, rugged country to see if it really was full of boiling geysers, sulfur pools, and steep, yellow cliffs. Yellowstone Moran describes how Thomas Moran, a talented artist, rushed West and talked Dr. Hayden into allowing him to join the expedition. Thomas was well equipped as an artist, but a greenhorn when it came to the challenges of horses, mule trains and wild animals. With superb use of color and design Judge's paintings make me feel the struggle of stubborn mules, the calm of a moonlit geyser basin, and the indignity Moran felt when he needed to place a pillow on his saddle because he was so saddle sore. Her Yellowstone landscapes bring back my own warm memories of the many times I have been there.
Judge's writing captures both adventure and history; her stunning paintings capture the essence of Thomas Moran's art and the grandeur of Yellowstone. This combination makes for a beautiful book, full of Yellowstone's beauty and appreciation for Thomas Moran. Its fascinating, true story shows us how the Hayden expedition and Moran's paintings helped convince Congress to create Yellowstone National Park, our first national park. I highly recommend this book, both for its story and for its exceptional art.
This lovely picture book is illustrated in a style similar to that of Moran's paintings, and it's beautiful. The text is also very good - clear and well written, with plenty of information about both the land and the people on the expedition. There are also snippets of actual letters written by Moran, shown in the illustrations as letters, which is a nice feature. Reading the book, I felt like I got a small sense of what it might have been like to be on that expedition, not knowing what to expect, sometimes tired and wet and cold, and encountering a land of breathtaking beauty like nothing I'd ever seen before.
(Note: I received a free advance reading copy of this book from the publisher at an American Library Association Annual Conference. I was not required to write a positive review. Thank you, Viking!)
In Yellowstone Moran, Lita uses her knowledge of the park to capture the discoveries of the landscape painter Thomas Moran and the 1871expedition to Yellowstone. The next year Moran's epic painting helped convince Congress to make Yellowstone America's first national park.
Lita's lively account and vivid art lets readers share in the excitement of that expedition.