Disclosure: I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.
Join Coover, Conrad and their mighty dog, Clementine, as they explore one of the most unique landscapes in southern Colorado–the Grand Mesa! Their grandma takes them to the Dobies, a series of steep hills made from adobe clay that formed as the nearby volcanoes, now extinct, eroded. At first, Coover feels a little sad and lonely, but as he is introduced to the rich wildlife–from woodpeckers to toads, cattails and sunflowers–he feels stronger and more confident. As both boys tramp through their imaginative journey, the vivid history and beautiful scenery awaken them to a new world full of possibility and friendship. By the end of the day, everyone is happily exhausted and ready for the next adventure!
“Barbara Torke’s ebullient paintings set a joyful mood as two adventurous boys and their valiant dog explore the ecology of the Colorado Dobies, an emotional landscape that at first seems barren and solitary, but, as the boys learn, is full of life. The story is about how imagination and companionship defeat loneliness, and the beautiful illustrations provide the rich texture of a vibrant journey of friends learning how to thrive.”
–Sarah Treschl, Kurt Johnson award winning writer
“A fun and insightful adventure with vivid visual descriptions and language that engages and challenges readers–both young and old. The paintings leap off the pages and into your imagination. A poetic and visual treat!”
–Marisa Donnelly, author of Somewhere On A Highway
“Hiking the Grand Mesa comes to life in every sentence–brilliant images, constant movement and supportive interactions as the characters explore nature, enjoy each other’s friendship and build upon shared imaginations. What a wonderful reading experience! You can share the adventure with everyone in your family, young and old!”
–Steve Staley, professor, author and grandfather
Be sure to check out the first in the series — Ice Breaking: The Adventures of Clementine the Rescue Dog
From Loving Healing Press www.LHPress.com
|Page from Hiking the Grand Mesa: A Clementine the Rescue Dog Story by Kyle Torke and Barbara Torke|
First and foremost, the illustrations are super cute and beautiful. They are paint like and give the images a feeling of happiness.
The book is a bit long and wordy for learning readers, but I could see my 7 year old and I taking turns reading together.
The book contained 19 pages to be read and while the words were bigger than your average book, it was still nearly a full page of reading – something my youngest doesn’t care to read. Hence the reason I think younger kids or those learning to read would struggling with this. Together she may read some of it with me, but it definitely would make for an older kid (I’d say more like 3rd grade level) or for a parent to read to children or even a teacher to read to the class.
The story was very descriptive which allowed the reader to visualize being a part of the story and at times, I often felt that I was exploring the desert near my own home! I could picture, smell, and feel what was happening around me.
I felt the book ended kind of abruptly. I am not sure that is something to blame on the author although he is partially to blame. I think I got so wrapped up in the story, the imagery and my imagination that I lost myself in the story and didn’t realize we were wrapping it up!!
I will enjoy reading this a few more times with my youngest and think I will let her share it with her classmates next school year! I am certain a class would enjoy hearing this story and looking at the pictures in the end with the real life adventure!!
Clementine and her two boys set out for adventure on a snowy morning, mittens and imaginations in tow, and discover, among the many wonders revealed during a day outside, the miracles of cascading ice falls, a warren of rabbits, and golden fish in a frozen pond. When they return home, their imaginations are warm as a fireside!
“Ice Breaking brims with lively, engaging illustrations. I love a children’s book with real art. Many modern children’s books take shortcuts, but Icebreaking is a book to keep on the coffee table to enjoy again and again.”
— Markee Travis, Delta County librarian and artist
“Clementine the Rescue Dog steals the show from the humans during their fun romp, and she shows them how to climb the snowy banks of their imaginations. They delight, and you will enjoy their marvelous adventure!”
— Steve Rabey, author of Star Struck and other books
“I love the softness portrayed in the illustrations. Clementine is incredibly expressive. The simple escapades of the children are enchanting and full of joy. What a pleasure to immerse ourselves in their play!”
— Carol McDermott, poet, teacher and school board member
“I am delighted to see Barbara Torke’s humorous and expressive illustrations enhance the story of Clementine and her boys. The furry friends come alive in Barbara’s creative hands: winter becomes welcoming and bright!”
— Maryellen Miller, artist, gallery owner and writer
From Loving Healing Press www.LHPress.com
About the Authors
KYLE TORKE: An adventure with children returns the adults in their company to a state of innocent wonder, and the transformative power of an alien landscape that forces us to look, really look at what is around us is a great joy. Grand Mesa is just such an adventure. As a writer, Kyle Torke hopes the best detail, the clear image, and the precise sentence will keep our eyes open as we read and then as we wander outside to see the world again-fresh now. He has published in every major genre (most recently a book of nonfiction, Tanning Season, as well as the first Clementine Adventure: Icebreaking!) and has taught at colleges and universities for nearly twenty-five years. He lives in Colorado with his family (wife Sarah and college-age sons Conrad, Coover, and Hunter and two canine friends, Nut and Bean). We encourage everyone to adopt from a rescue shelter and spay-neuter all pets! Take lots of walks and explore the world with children and dogs, our best guides
BARBARA TORKE: A painting is a new lens on the world, a vitalized way of seeing the truth of flowers or people. We find our true emotions in the bursts of color and images that surface from our dreams and our daily interactions. Barbara Torke has been painting since she was a child on a farm on Colorado’s Front Range, the great prairies. She studied art and education in college and has a BA and an MA. She taught art at the elementary school level for many years and now is a master teacher of other artists. Barbara lives on the Western Slope of Colorado, at the foot of Grand Mesa with her partner, Dale, and a bushel of cats. She has four children and five grandchildren, along with a multitude of dog friends and grandpets. She loves animals, camping, reading, swimming, and writing. Barbara is best known for her whimsical watercolors and pastels of dogs and pickup trucks. Learn more about Barbara’s art at www.BarbaraTorkeArt.com.
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