Review: Hike by Pete Oswald
By Pete Oswald
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Some of the best experiences don’t involve many words. Finding a book you’re excited to read on a library shelf. Diving underwater during a day at the beach. Eating a piece of really good cake. Words can actually spoil an otherwise perfect moment. Pete Oswald knows this. He must, because his picture book, Hike, is elevated precisely because it doesn’t let words taint a beautiful day spent in nature.
It’s early morning in a child’s bedroom. Hiking boots, binoculars, a map, trail mix, and other hiking accouterments fill the space. There’s even a small seedling in a tube, next to a book explaining “How to Plant a Tree”. The child jumps out of bed, gets geared out, and heads for the mountains with dad. After reaching the trail head, the pair start their ascent, encountering lingering snow, wildlife, and a raging waterfall as they make their way to the summit. They plant the seedling there, take in the beauty, and begin the journey home. As the day ends, the reader sees that this hike wasn’t just a wonderful day in nature, but also a continuation of a family tradition.
The lush digital artwork is full of details for careful observers. The use of white space and absence of any sort of panel lines gives the whole undertaking a clean quality, like breathing in fresh mountain air.
A beautiful book about family, perseverance, and the Great Outdoors. To talk about it anymore would be to spoil it.
Review copy from the publisher.
Go behind the scenes of Hike at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
Filed under: Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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