BookLife Review

Editor’s pick – indicated by a lightning bolt, is a book of outstanding quality 

Hiking the Grand Canyon is a family tradition for daughter and mother co-writers Schweitzer and Graves, and their first picture book captures both the disciplined preparation the journey demands and the wonder of the experience. When her parents announce that they’ve obtained a permit to camp in Grand Canyon National Park during spring break, Alice begins to read about this amazing natural wonder and joins younger brother Jack on practice hikes. It’s like training for the Olympics, Alice declares, as her family spends four months prepping for the trip, which involves hiking down paths carved into the canyon–and an even more strenuous, uphill climb out.

Told from Alice’s perspective, this family trip is a grand adventure that unfolds as a series of important tasks. She approaches each one with relish, from choosing the best waterproof hiking boots to leading her family into Phantom Ranch, their canyon floor base camp. Her enthusiasm is tempered only by a fear of heights, and illustrator McKenzie Robinson skillfully captures Alice’s trepidation taking a practice walk across a narrow rope bridge over a ravine. When she faces the daunting Silver Suspension Bridge with the roaring Colorado River below, the girl’s determined posture projects her resolve.

Robinson is a childhood friend of Graves, and their collaboration illuminates a young girl discovering how much she can learn and achieve. Characters are drawn with more detail than the natural world, which is rendered in bold, expressive strokes of soft color, making the canyon walls more inviting than imposing and reinforcing Graves and Schweitzer’s encouraging tone. Only one percent of visitors travel down into the Grand Canyon, and Alice’s family serves as a model for parents and kids eager to experience this astounding environment –and for those who aren’t afraid of the hard work. Through Alice’s immersive Grand Canyon journey, readers will learn how satisfying a challenge can be.

Takeaway: An inspiring account of a Grand Canyon adventure, emphasizing practical prep and sheer wonder.

Great for fans of: Jason Chin’s Grand Canyon, Alison Farrell’s The Hike, and Jennifer K. Mann’s The Camping Trip.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A-
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-