Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Camping with the president

Camping with the president

Ginger Wadsworth
Illustrator:  Karen Dugan 
Non-Fiction Picture Book
For ages 8 to 12
Boyds Mills Press, 2009   ISBN: 1590784979

One evening Theodore Roosevelt, the president of the United States, reads a book by a man called John Muir. In the book, Muir describes the national parks that he has visited around the United States. When President Roosevelt reads about Yosemite National Park in California, he decides that he must visit the place.

Arrangements are made, and some months later President Roosevelt meets John Muir in Raymond, California. Though an entourage and the press travels with the President for the first part of the journey, the president is determined to “drop politics absolutely for four days.” There is no arguing with Theodore Roosevelt when he decides on something, and soon the president, John Muir, and a government ranger set off for four days of camping in the wilderness.

As they look at the extraordinary scenery and the wonderful plants, trees, and animals around them, (and dodge reporters) John Muir tells the president about the need to preserve the natural wonders of the United States. Seeing the things John Muir described in his book in real life convinces the president that John Muir is right – the natural wonders of America truly are wondrous.

This special picture book tells the true story of a short, but important, camping trip that President Theodore Roosevelt made in 1903. It shows readers what a singular man the president was, and how he was willing to listen to others so that he could learn about important issues.

Karen Dugan’s delightful illustrations capture Theodore Roosevelt’s ebullient enthusiasm and the beauty of the park that he visited.

Young readers who are interested in finding out more about John Muir might like to look at Ginger Wadsworth’s book, John Muir Wilderness Protector, which describes the life and work of the writer and environmentalist.