Mother-daughter author-illustrator team Anne (who passed away in April 2018) and Lizzy Rockwell have crafted a quiet story that positively portrays a black family spending time in nature. While this shouldn’t be a news flash in 2018, it is.
A black family—mom, dad, and daughter—drives 20 minutes away from their suburb for a day hike up Hickory Hill, where they enjoy the flora, fauna, and autumnal changes. The higher they climb, the sparser the vegetation becomes until they reach the summit and take in the expansive views. This picture book offers a rare snapshot of a family of color spending quality family time in the woods. Since they think they are lost at one point, perhaps they have not hiked often, but this does not dampen their enthusiasm. Several animals make an appearance in the watercolor illustrations, done in a soft, mostly pastel palette, including a porcupine, birds, a deer, a chipmunk, and a toad. The young female narrator describes the woodpecker she sees as redheaded; this, too, suggests that she hasn’t done much bird-watching since the bird is a pileated woodpecker, and a kid who had grown up birding would know it by both sound and sight. Still, readers will appreciate the daughter’s delight as she chooses the trail to hike and really notices her surroundings.
Black and brown nature lovers, here’s one to read and share. (Picture book. 4-8)