Home School Book Review on Hiking the Grand Mesa

Torke, Kyle.  Hiking the Grand Mesa: A Clementine the Rescue Dog Story (Published in 2020  by Loving Healing Press, 5145  Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI  48205).   Two young boys, Coover and Conrad, go with their Grandma and their mighty rescue dog, Clementine, on a desert adventure.  They hike through the southern Colorado Dobies, a series of steep hills made from adobe clay that formed as the nearby volcanoes, now extinct, eroded.  Their goal is to explore one of the most unique landscapes in Colorado–the Grand Mesa. At first, Coover seems a little sad and lonely at the apparently barren and solitary landscape, but Grandma introduces him to the rich wildlife, both plant and animal, around them, and both boys go tramping through an imaginative journey.  What will they see?  Where will they go?  And what will they do?

Hiking the Grand Mesa is a nature lover’s dream.  Beginning readers will be fascinated by the vivid history of the area as described in author Kyle Torke’s clear, detailed text, and by the beautiful scenery depicted in illustrator Barbara Torke’s gorgeous watercolor paintings.

This fun and insightful story is a wonderful, challenging reading experience with vocabulary development, contextual learning, and the encouragement of imagination.  From woodpeckers and toads, to cattails and sunflowers, youngsters will be awakened to a whole new world.  The first book in the series is Ice Breaking: The Adventures of Clementine the Rescue Dog.

Joanna Walitalo

Joanna Walitalo grew up in Oil City, MI, where she took art classes at Bullock Creek Schools taught by Mr. Matherne and Mr. Myers; both very talented artists, and teachers with endless patience. She earned a BS degree in Biology and Envi-ronmental Studies from Central Michigan University, and took art classes at the Midland Center for the Arts, where she had the opportunity to study under Armin Mersmann. While studying at CMU, she took art classes form Dietmar Krumrey II and Michael Volker. From there, she moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where she earned a Master of Forestry at Michigan Technological University. A strong love of the outdoors, and wild places, has led her to incorporate her pas-sion for art with her professional education in order to bring the beauty of wildlife and wild places closer to the general public through scientifically accurate artwork. By far, the artist that influenced Joanna the most throughout her life has been her mom, Barb Rogers, who taught art at Coleman Middle School, MI, for many years, and always encouraged and guided Joanna to incorporate art into all her endeavors. Today, Joanna continues to live with her loving husband James, and son little James, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, working as an artist and illustrator.

J. Walitalo Woodburning
J. Walitalo Woodburning
J. Walitalo Woodburning
: Highlights from the First Five Years


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  1. Pingback: Home School Book Review on Hiking the Grand Mesa – Loving Healing Press | Campbells World

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