Two in the Wilderness
Adventures of a Mother and Daughter in the Adirondack Mountains
Text by Sandra Weber
Photographs by Carl E. Heilman II
Published by Calkins Creek Books, Boyds Mills Press, 2005
Grab a backpack and join Sandra Weber and her eleven-year-old daughter Marcy for a trek in the Adirondack wilderness. Feel the sensation of climbing mountains, sleeping in open lean-tos, eating wild blueberries, floating like lily pads, and laughing with loons. Add alpine flowers, a bear, and five days of rain, and the result is an appreciation of nature. By the end of the 60-mile trip, mother and daughter also learn to appreciate each other.
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8 – Weber, an experienced and avid hiker, recounts with vivid detail a 12-day journey with her 11-year-old daughter, Marcy, in the Adirondack Mountains. Together they climbed peaks, crossed beaver dams, endured rainstorms, and explored beautiful forests. The narrative weaves together the history of the mountains, both geological and cultural, with a here-and-now account of their ups and downs through this rugged landscape. The details of food preparation and footwear mingle with descriptions of soaring landscapes and encounters with the fauna of the area. While the writing occasionally strays to the simplistic, laying out the most mundane of details, the narrative still manages to hold attention and impart interesting historical facts about the people and places that make the Adirondacks so fascinating.
Sidebars from Marcy's own journal of the trip offer up a humorous counterpoint to her mother's poetic descriptions of the environment. Color photographs, taken by a local artist who joined the duo periodically, document most of the outing, allowing readers to share intimate glimpses at the mother-daughter relationship. This title is likely to appeal to girls looking for a bit of adventure in their nonfiction reading. A strong addition to any mountaineering collection. –Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
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Gr. 3-5. Mom-daughter book clubs we know about. But mom-daughter wilderness outings? Weber, a nature writer and Adirondacks historian, boldly planned just such an expedition with her reluctant 11-year-old, Marcy, who figures the two-week-long trip will be "annoying and boring." Photographer Heilman periodically rendezvoused with the pair, and the resulting photo-essay provides an informational trek through Adirondacks history as well as an intensely personal story of parent-child bonding. Weber's narrative (supplemented by snippets from Marcy's journal) avoids romanticizing the journey; along with descriptions of "magical places" and thrilling encounters with a bear, there are moments when Marcy pleads to go home and when both travelers bemoan days of relentless rain. Weber's inclinations to sappy introspection (she hopes her daughter will "always reach for the high ground, the truth, the top of the mountain") may occasionally set readers' teeth on edge, but the photos continually return the focus to the active, engaged young person rather than the doting parent. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.