The Adventures of a Girl & Her Dog
…in the Mountains
Dagny McKinley, Author
Ostap Stetsiv, Illustrator
Brigham Distributing, Fiction, 2015
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes: A girl and her dog explore nature
Opening: These are the adventures of a girl and her dog / That played together in rain, snow and fog / Nature was their home / high in the mountains / Away from / cities, subway, planes, cars and trains.
Synopsis: A girl and her dog explore the mountains with abandonment. With no adults to restrict their explorations, they can roam through fields full of flowers, cross streams, climb trees, dig in the earth, splash in streams, watch bears, dodge bee hives, laugh, scream, and get dirty. When the girl and her dog visit the city, they have to look hard for natures’ beauty in the flowers living in the cracks of the sidewalks and in the bird’s nests sitting in gutters.
Favorite Verse: “The girl’s soul lived in the mountains / where trees grow into the clouds / Where there are rocks, there are birds / but nothing loud.”
…in the Snow
Brigham Distributing, Fiction, 2015
Opening: These are the adventures of a girl and her dog / Who play together in the snow, sleet and fog / Who love to wander where no one else goes / In temperatures of five, ten, even twenty below.
Synopsis: A girl explores the winter wonderland with her dog. As the snow begins to fall, they relish the possibilities all around them. They watch the clouds transform the landscape and find stories in the tracks left by cougars, foxes, and rabbits. While the temperatures dip, bears, marmots and chipmunks, hibernate in dens. The girl and her dog dance in the snow, run without a care, dig caves in the snow, make snow and dog angels, and watch the sun set. The world changes around them, each day they explore.
Favorite Verse: “Together they set off through the white / as light as a feather / That dances around their feet / like sugar and glitter.
Why I like this series: Dagny McKinley has written a charming series about the joy found in the changing seasons. Children will love the delicious rhyming and words choices. They will delight in romping through the natural world with the girl and dog, feel the peace and tranquility as they explore the mountains and navigate the quiet, winter snow-covered woodlands. The author is clever not to name the girl or dog, as it allows children to imagine that they are the ones having this grand adventure. Ostap Stetsiv’s illustrations are colorful, whimsical and show the wonder on the girl’s face. The warm, bright colors of summer and cool colors of winter, highlight the different seasons. Exquisite images! Nice collaborative work on this heartwarming series for children and adults.
Resources: Take children on a nature walk to explore the many wonders found in the fields, forests and streams. Since autumn is here look at the colorful leaves on trees and talk about the life cycles. Take along a camera and a journal and encourage kids to record birds and animals they see. In the winter, kids can track animal footprints in the snow, make snow angels and build a snowman.
Dagny McKinley has lived many places, but found a home in the expansive granite landscape of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. McKinley stays current on environmental issues, women’s issues and is an avid animal rights supporter. She believes all lives are interconnected and each person, landscape and insect has something to offer and teach. She is the author of The Springs of Steamboat: Healing Waters, Mysterious Cave and Sparkling Soda, and Wild Hearts: Dog Sledding the Rockies – written while working as a dog sled tour guide for three years. Visit Dagny McKinley at her website.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.