cover image In the Canyon

In the Canyon

Liz Garton Scanlon, illus. by Ashley Wolff. S&S/Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-0348-1

Equipped with a map, boots, a walking stick, and a jaunty trail hat, a girl ventures from the rim of the Grand Canyon down to the Colorado River at the very bottom. In expansive block prints whose radiant colors and heroic characterizations recall vintage murals, Wolff (Baby Bear Sees Blue) portrays her intrepid heroine as confident and largely independent (while her parents accompany her, they remain background characters), in the midst of an adventure that’s every bit as grand as the setting’s name promises. Winding through billons of years of striated stone, the girl spots petroglyphs and mule trains, as well as majestic bighorn sheep, speckled lizards, and soaring condors. Scanlon (The Good-Pie Party) builds many couplets around the use of the contraction “here’s” (“Here’s a tree with roots in rock,/ and hello, Mr. Red-Tailed Hawk!”), creating the sense that readers are witnessing each sight or discovery right alongside the girl. Readers may well close the book demanding that the next family vacation takes them into the wild. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Aug.)