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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 1 year, 3 months ago

18 March 2020 HIKE by Pete Oswald, Candlewick, March 2020, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-0157-4


“We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.”

-- David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth


“I love to go a-wandering

Along the mountain track

And as I go, I love to sing

My knapsack on my back

Val-deri, val-dera

Val-dera, val-der-


Val-deri, val-dera

My knapsack on my back”

-- English lyrics by Antonia Ridge (1955)


I love to don my hiking boots and wander down a road or up a trail. I owe my lifelong love of walking and hiking to the Boy Scouts of America. 


Sometimes it was a challenging hike with full packs, heading to a weekend camporee with multiple troops. A favorite destination was Macedonia Brook State Park in Connecticut. Sometimes it was just our patrol on an icy five miler, hiking from our neighborhood over to Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown. (That route always included a detour on Veterans Highway for hot chocolate and doughnuts.) 


Here in San Francisco, we are currently in a coronavirus lockdown. To avoid going stir-crazy, I’ve been sneaking out, weather permitting, to do a few social-distanced miles on the hilly streets each afternoon.


Pete Oswald’s HIKE is a stunning, nearly-wordless, picture book hiking adventure. Told through captivating digital illustrations, it features an untraditional family--a father and his gender-neutral child. They have planned carefully, so they are able to jump up at the crack of dawn, load the car, and head out of town and into the mountains. 


Once there, the child engages in many of the skills I learned back in the day: reading maps; climbing mountains; observing wildlife; journaling animal tracks; photographing beautiful vistas; throwing snowballs; and skimming rocks on the lake.


As a pileated woodpecker bores for insects nearby, the father and child successfully traverse a tricky log crossing just downstream of a glorious, thundering waterfall. They take a snack break. 


Finally, they reach their ultimate destination: a mountaintop of evergreens. They remove a small shovel and a baby evergreen from the child’s backpack; carefully plant it; and then manage an old-fashioned selfie, using a camera with a timer.


The pair exudes joy and satisfaction as they hike back to the car; drive home; and recall their exploits over milk and cookies.


Pete Oswald has me thinking about some of the places I might get to go hiking, once the world is back to normal. 


For the sake of the planet, and its ever present need for a new generation of stewardship; I hope that this beautiful HIKE finds a wide and enthusiastic audience. 


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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