From School Library Journal 4/91
Gr.2-4. Siebert and Minor have surpassed their previous collaborative achievements, Mojave (1988) and Heartland (1989, both Crowell), in this their latest celebration of the American landscape. Siebert's measured, confident verses convey the majesty of the speaker, the mountain personified, Sierra herself. She relates her geological birth and the formative experience of the ice ages, and describes her present splendid appearance. Appreciatively, Sierra catalogs the rich life she shelters, supports, and observes, from the tiny pika to the big black bear and untethered eagle. On the final page a "new forceä is introduced: MAN, ominously "changing nature's plan,ä yet promisingly, able to care for the mountain environment. Siebert's lyrical and moving verses are nevertheless, all but upstaged by Minor's stunning acrylic paintings. He effectively exploits long shot, close up, unusual perspective, framing, and other techniques while employing tender color to evoke the breathtaking beauty of his subject. Minor relies on the sculptural strength of his compositions to balance the unabashed romanticism of his vision. There is a siren's-song quality to this lovely book. Readers sensitive to its power might well feel how tragically possible it is for us to love our wilderness to death. Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle
Handsome landscapes and animal portraits from the Sierra Nevadas are accompanied by a lyrical poem in which a mountain describes its formation, its animal denizens, the ecological chain, and the weather and seasons. A thoughtprovoking paean to natural history.
From Booklist, April 1991
Ages 5-8. As they have done in two previous collaborations, Mojave and Heartland, Siebert and Minor extol the glory of the land. Here, superb acrylic paintings and a text in verse express the magnificence of the Sierra Nevada: "I am the mountain, tall and grand. / And like a sentinel I stand.ä In Siebert's rhymed couplets, a mountain speaks of its birth and growth, of the forests and animals it shelters, and of the cycle of life and death it supports. The verse is solemn and lyrical, in keeping with the mountain's majesty, yet full of information: "I keep the pika, small and shy,/ That spread their gathered grass to dry./ I shelter rodents. In my trees/ Live pinecone-loving chickarees.ä Though younger readers may not grasp Siebert's more elaborate phrasings ("this planet's faulted crustä), all will be mesmerized by Minor's breathtaking illustrations. Spacious landscapes convey the Sierra's immensity, as in one painting where mistwrapped sequoias tower over tiny deer. Other illustrations offer detailed portraits of creatures large and small. The text ends on a cautionary note, as the mountain speaks of man's growing influence over nature. This handsome effort will leave the reader with feelings of awe and wonder. Leone McDermott
NCSS/CBC Notable 1991 Children's Trade Books in Social Studies, April 17, 1992
NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children in 1991, March 9, 1992
California Library Association 1992 John and Patricia Beatty Award, Nov. 15, 1992
1991 John Burroughs List of Nature Books For Young Readers, April 6, 1992
Paintings from SIERRA are included in:
The Society of Illustrators' 34th Annual National Exhibition, Feb. 4, 1992
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