A Weird and Wild Beauty, book review, Children's Writing, Cici Reno: #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker, Erin Peabody, Kristina Springer, San Francisco Book Review, Writing

A Weird and Wild Beauty — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”
~ E.L. Doctorow ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Greg Pattridge has come up with a good method HERE to avoid slowing your story down with too much back story. 

Overused words? Erika Wassal has a guest post on those HERE on Writing and Illustrating. Check it out. 

Kristen Lamb writes great posts for writers and the one HERE is just plain fun, telling us 13 Ways Writers are Mistaken for Serial Killers. 

Last week I promised an ARC of Cici Reno: MiddleSchoolMatchmaker by Kristina Springer to one of you. This week’s winner is Janet Smart, a children’s writer and blogger from West Virginia. If you haven’t checked out her blog, Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch (Don’t you love that title?), you can do so now by clicking HERE. I recommend it. Congratulations, Janet. I will get the book out to you this week. 

One of my grandkids is already out of school for the summer, and the other will be out next week. It’s that time of year when people are planning vacations and getting away. My family’s favorite excursions would include any national park we could get to. Our National Park system is amazing. In honor of the vacation season and our National Parks, this week I am offering an ARC of A Weird and Wild Beauty: the Story of Yellowstone, the World’s First National Park by Erin Peabody. Here is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review

The very first national park in the world was Yellowstone National Park. The bill passed by congress and signed into law by Ulysses S. Grant in 1872 set aside more than 2 million acres of spectacular wilderness for people to enjoy. But how did this all come about? The area had been largely ignored by white Americans. It was hard to reach, particularly in the winter, and it was an area used for hunting and held sacred by Native Americans, who fiercely protected it. But when gold was discovered there, white settlers were willing to go, and they discovered a land of wild and strange beauty with bubbling mud, hissing hillsides, roaring rivers, and great wildlife. It took a wealthy railroad magnate, geologists, other scientists, conservationists, artists, and more to bring about this amazing bill to protect this wild and beautiful place. 

“Hayden’s small party bound for the land of bubbling fountains departed on the morning of July 31. The excitement must have been palpable as they contemplated upcoming wonders that Langford had described as ‘entirely out of the range of human experience.’”

There have been histories of this great park written, but never one for the middle-grade crowd. This book, with lively writing, great research, and

Erin Peabody

wonderful photographs, maps, and other graphics, deserves a much wider readership than its intended audience and should find a place in libraries and classrooms everywhere.


I have a gently-read ARC for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don’t forget to check out Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

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