Shelley Gill, author
Author, adventurer, whale detective, pony wrangler, dog musher and all around fun hog, Shelley Gill lives her books! Shelley is the author of several children's books, including Alaska, Hawai'i, and Sitka Rose.
Read more about Shelley.
Patrick J. Endres, illustrator
Patrick J. Endres' photographs have appeared in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, National Wildlife, National Geographic Traveler, Time, Outside, Alaska, and numerous other publications. He lives in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Read more about Patrick.
Gill connects Endres's eye-filling nature photos with bits of Alaskan history, engagingly awkward rhymed stanzas set off in a larger typeface, pithy advice for newly arrived "cheechakos" ("Never go into the woods by yourself. Take a friend. You can't outrun the bear, but you might outrun your buddy") and rapturous commentary on the state's wildlife, modern and traditional cultures, physical features and seasonal changes. Aside from one view of an oil-soaked stretch of coastline, the general tone is light, upbeat and welcoming, and whether driven by pleasure or purpose, readers will linger over both the pictures and the word portraits.
School Library Journal
This book blends poetry, factual paragraphs, and silly "Cheechako [outsider] tips" ("Stay upwind from whales: they exhale what Alaskans call 'fish farts'") to cover Alaska's history, economy, and nature. The writing is clear and informative, and the author's love of Alaska is infectious. She writes in an inviting, informal way that is never dry even when listing facts and numbers. She talks about bears on one page and an oil spill on the next without losing that tone. Topics are covered over single spreads, and there is no index or table of contents. On each spread, one photo fills both sides, with smaller insets and text placed over it. The subjects of the photographs are stunning, but the material overlaid on them can be distracting, and though they are generally of high quality, some are grainy. Overall, while the content is worthy, the book suffers from a poor layout.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-032-4 PDF
Page count: 32
11 x 8 1/2