Get off the couch and go hiking! Outdoor recreation expert Jeff Alt takes you on an educational adventure in this new National Park Adventure Series.
This first book takes us time traveling through the Great Smoky Mountains: Tommy “Bubba” Jones and his sister Jenny “Hug-a-Bug” learn that they have inherited the ability to time travel from their grandfather, Papa Lewis.
With lots of great advice on equipment and hiking/camping techniques so as to really enjoy the outdoors with your kids, the book also has tons of interesting facts about history, science, and the environment, all aiming to have your entire family excited to take their own Great Smoky Mountain adventure.
The time traveling bit can be confusing at first, until you understand that it is sort of a “wishful thinking” time machine, created to help you imagine different times, weathers, landscapes, and clothing.
So, with a simple voice command, they can go back in time over 400 million years and witness how the Smokies were once as tall as the Himalayas but were eroded over the ages; or move forward in time and experience the amazing thrills of gigantic herds of animals like elk and buffalo; or learn about how difficult it was for the Cherokee to survive in the wild mountain terrain… Finally, they get to meet the park founders and some of the famous hiking pioneers who first walked the Appalachian Trail (including Grandma Gatewood, who was the first female to walk the entire trail).
Each chapter has a lesson behind it, and I would say this is ideal class material. The dialog helps lead you along for the information bits, and the experience is fun to read. There is also a mystery with a long-lost uncle that takes you along for a great bit of the park. Since the Great Smoky Mountains are the most popular National Park, with over nine million visitors each year, there really is a lot to see, and the book works well as a tourist guide explaining where to go and what you can do in each place.
I wasn’t all that impressed by the illustrations. They really could use more aerial views as to let you understand the magnificence of the park; hopefully they will improve over time. For more information about the books you can visit the website: The Great Adventures of Bubba Jones.
Jeff Alt is an avid outdoor enthusiast who has conducted family hiking programs in the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks for many years. He has walked the Appalachian Trail, the John Muir Trail with his wife, and has carried his 21-month-old daughter across Ireland. He is keen on visiting schools and having talks about his outdoor experiences.
Jeff’s new book series and national park family hiking seminars tie in with the new Every Kid in a Park initiative.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review purposes.
Featured image by Hannah Touhy, courtesy of Beaufort Books