By: Frank Murphy
Illustrated by: Richard Walz
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 2015
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: December 2015
As a child in New York City, Teddy Roosevelt was a sickly child. The pollution of the city aggravated his asthma and made it hard for the boy to breathe. Fortunately, his parents knew what to do – they moved to the country and told their son to “take a hike!” His parents’ wise advice helped cure Teddy of his ills, and gave him a life-long love of nature.
Take a Hike, Teddy Roosevelt! chronicles the life of President Roosevelt with a strong emphasis on his love of nature and desire to preserve the beauty of our country for future generations. Several pages are devoted to his early life, hiking through the woods, observing animals, and writing down everything he noted. Readers will even see the young man in his “Roosevelt Museum of Natural History” and want to follow his cue. And while Teddy loved spending his time in the great outdoors, he was distraught to see how his fellow man was destroying so much of it in the name of progress. What could he do?
Teddy’s love of animals and nature didn’t stop when he went off to college. Instead, he continued to learn and his dorm room was shared with several animals including a giant turtle! Upon graduation, Teddy wanted to find a way to help save both the animals and land that was being gobbled up by those wishing to build and make money. Readers will learn what Teddy did and how he preserved so much land for future generations to enjoy.
I had a smile on my face throughout the reading of Take a Hike, Teddy Roosevelt! The story is fun and engaging, the pictures bright and inviting, and youngsters will delight in seeing all sorts of animals on just about every page. The subtle way that Teddy grew older as the story progressed was well done, as was the message of conservation, which was conveyed without being preachy. Readers will learn about the health benefits of caring for the environment as Teddy’s well-being was directly affected by the fresh air and his robust physical activity while enjoying the wild outdoors. Add in the “Step into Reading” rating where the level of the book is clearly delineated (this book is rated a 'Step 3' for grades 1-3/children reading on their own - more specifics on the publisher's website), and you have a winner. Overall, this is a great history lesson for kids and would make an excellent resource for those who need to do a project on one of this nation’s presidents.
Quill says: A great book for young readers to learn about America’s twenty-sixth president AND about the importance of conservation.