cover image Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Linda Vieira. Walker & Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-8625-8

Armchair travelers are in capable hands as a perceptive author-artist team (The Ever-Living Tree) conducts a picture-book tour of a glorious national landmark. Vieira whittles her vast subject down to size by taking a ""day in the life"" approach, beginning with the drama of an early morning lightning storm and continuing on through the arrival of visitors and a five-hour mule trek down to the canyon floor. Whether describing the grandeur of the scenery, the geologic history embedded in the canyon's rock layers, the traces left behind by the Havasupai and Anasazi, or plant and animal life, the author incorporates the details into a fluid text lit up by vivid prose: spires and buttes stand ""like sentries on the plateau""; steep riverbanks are ""the roots of mountains."" Like Vieira, the aptly named Canyon is adept at defining not only the grand vistas but also the close-focus scenery. Although the almost surreal pinks, lavenders and smoky reds and oranges for which the site is famous look overbright at times, his paintings are otherwise meticulous as they capture the abundant wildlife and unique geology. Shifting perspectives add interest--readers look out across the canyon, up at the sky from the river and then down on a trio of mules winding around a treacherous corner. A thumbnail history of the site concludes this invigorating trip. Ages 5-8. (Nov.)