Most of us have memories of exploring as kids. For me, it was our yearly trip to the Catskill Mountains in New York. The whole family would spend a long weekend just hanging out and being outside. I remember fishing, horseback riding, and getting dirty outside with my brothers and cousins. As we got older, we didn’t return to the Catskills as often, but the memories of those trips haven’t faded.
I truly believe that being outside and exploring is beyond important, not just for kids, but for all of us. It gives us a chance to slow down, live in the moment, and garner a sense of appreciation for the wondrous world we live in. Explorers of the Wild is a great reminder of this.
The story starts out as a side-by-side narrative of two young explorers. They each go into detail sharing their affinity for the wild and checking out all the weird and wonderful things nature has to offer. When the two very different adventurers run into each they are frightened. However, the uneasiness quickly fades away as they see just how similar they actually are. These two kings of the wild realize that with a fellow explorer at your side there is little you can’t conquer.
I can’t talk about this book without talking about the book case or my favorite spread.
There have been some stunning book cases in recent memory, but Cale just might have taken the top spot with Explorers of the Wild. How does an explorer keep track of all they have observed? Their handy explorers journal of course! When I unveiled this case to my 4th grade class, I did it to a chorus of “WOAH!”s. I can only imagine it will have you saying the same.
This is without a doubt my favorite spread in Explorers of the Wild. There is so much to be said. The two adventurers looking out over all they’ve conquered, the sun peeking through the clouds, it is a beautiful scene. The most profound thing that this spread makes me realize is that adventure can be anywhere. It seems that this duo has traveled so far and seen so much in this story, yet when they get to the top of this peak, they can still see their homes. You don’t have to travel across the world to explore, you can do it in our own backyard.
Cale Atkinson’s adorable new picture book is a wonderful ode to friendship, exploration, and being wild. You will be lacing up your boots and grabbing your backpack the second you finish this story.
Title: Explorers of the Wild
Written/Illustrated by: Cale Atkinson
Published by: Disney Hyperion
On Sale: April, 26th, 2016
Review by: Paul Orsino
(Copy for review received from publisher)