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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - Scholastic National Park Series

On November 7, 2017, (here) I reviewed two amazing nonfiction natures series by Scholastic, which explored the history (both human and geologic) of the U.S. National Parks, the animals and plants found there, and the unique features that make each park special.

They recently ADDED to these series with books on the Grand Teton, Acadia, Glacier, and Olympic National Parks.

I was excited to examine these newest books, especially the one on Olympic National Park as it is "in my backyard" and a park I regularly visit. [All images © Scholastic, 2018.]


As I mentioned before, the Rookie National Parks series are 32-page chapter books for grades 1-2. They all have four chapters featuring stunning photographs in and around the parks.

Each one has as a cute animated character, Ranger Red Fox, as the tour guide. The fox appears on each two-page photographic spread with interesting tidbits of facts or questions. Did you know Olympic Park has a glacier as big as 40 football fields? Hmm, well did you know it also has a rainforest and beaches?

In addition to pinpointing the parks location within the U.S., the books highlight important features, history, and facts about each park. These books include a:


(1) field guide of animals;

(2) map reading exercise;

(3) wildflower/leaf tracker; and

(4) glossary.

They are great STEM additions to the classroom or homeschooling, as well scouting troops, since they cover geology, mathematics, and biology in an engaging manner.

Scholastic also has Rookie National Park books for the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Yosemite, Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, and Zion National Parks.


The True Book National Parks series are 48-page chapter books for grades 3-5. The five chapters also feature stunning photographs of each park, highlighting its special or unique activities, plants, and animals.

While this series doesn't have a "tour guide," it still provides lots of obscure facts and history. Did you know you can only hike, bike, cross-country ski or ride horse-drawn carriage on the roads and bridges in Acadia National Park?

A few other differences between these series, besides the length & number of chapters, are the True Book's section on ecology and park preservation and the opening "Find the Truth!" section. Each book begins with two statements about the park. One of them is true. The answers are contained within the book and confirmed at the end.

These books delve into greater depth on the important features or facts about each park and the animals and plants that exist within their boundaries. Like the Rookies books, they are also great STEM books for classrooms, homeschooling, and scouting troops, providing a detailed, scientific field guide of animals, map reading exercise, and glossary.

To help delve deeper into geology, mathematics, and biology, each True Book also includes a:

(1) timeline;

(2) graph;

(3) animal tracker; and

(4) park fact file chart.

They make it fun and exciting to learn about and understand why National Parks are important and deserve our protection.

Scholastic also has "A True Book" National Park book for the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Yosemite, Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, and Zion National Parks.

The stunning images, conversational narrative, and cool facts (like Acadia National Park is home to both Atlantic puffin and moose) make it fun to learn about these parks.

These books are great for developing critical reading skills, starting or expanding in-depth research projects, or a way to explore National Parks on the opposite side of the country. If your favorite National Park book isn't written yet, what information would you put into a similar book? Which National Park do you wish you could visit?

Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, or just admiring some amazing landscapes, plants, and animals these books are well worth your time.

Though I received copies of these books for the purpose of this review, the opinions are entirely my own.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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