Reader Views

Alice and Jack Hike the Grand Canyon

Amy Graves and Pam Schweitzer (authors) McKenzie Robinson (illustrator)

Opalave Publishing (2022); ISBN: 978-1736310601

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (06/2022)

5* An Endearing Family Hiking Adventure.

2022-2023 Literary Award Winner – Bronze

“Alice and Jack Hike the Grand Canyon,” by Amy Graves and Pam Schweitzer, illustrated by McKenzie Robinson, is not only a cute children’s book with adorable pictures but also carries a great message about culture and the environment. 

We start with young Alice as she and her little brother Jack ready themselves for a family trip to the Grand Canyon National Park, using a checklist as her guide. Alice brings the reader into the story with charm and personality, and guides the reader through their trek every step of the way.

One thing you’ll notice right away is the wonderful way story and illustrations blend together creating a stimulating visual as well as hands-on experience. When Alice’s checklist is mentioned, there is an illustration for the reader to refer to, thus inviting the reader to make their own mental checklist.

The message that hiking can be fun, but must be prepared for and taken seriously at the same time, for safety reasons, comes across effectively. This is also where Alice’s personality comes across clearly, as she decides to do a little research prior to their trip and isn’t so fond of the idea of bridges and cliffs. To prepare for the trip, they have practice hikes. As a reader, you feel as if you’re getting ready to take the trip right along with the characters.

Another appealing illustration is the Bright Angel Trail Map provided at the beginning of the story, with clear markings of special landmarks that can be visited–Phantom Ranch, Indian Garden, and the Colorado River for example. On their hiking/camping adventure, they encounter animals, other hikers, shooting stars, and the spiritual feeling of nature.

“Alice and Jack Hike the Grand Canyon,” by Amy Graves and Pam Schweitzer, is a wonderful story for all ages. It is a perfect way for families and young readers to enjoy a vacation vicariously, and also learn about meeting challenges, overcoming fear, finishing what you start, and, of course, the beauty and majesty of the Grand Canyon.