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Adventure will keep kids parked in one spot

“Ridge Runner Rescue” by Mike Graf, illustrations by Marjorie Leggitt, c.2009, Fulcrum Books, $9.95, 95 pages.

What will you do for your summer vacation?

It’s not too early to ask, you know. Pretty soon, you’ll be saying “goodbye” to your teachers and some of your friends. You’ll miss them for the summer, but you’ll have plenty of great things to talk about when you see them next fall. So what kind of adventures will you be able to share with your friends? What are you doing for your summer vacation?

The Parker family went to the Great Smo-ky Mountains National Park and in “Ridge Runner Rescue” by Mike Graf (illustrated by Marjorie Leggitt), you can read about what Morgan and James and their parents saw.

Every summer, the Parker family visits a different park in the United States. The parents make it a fun adventure and 12-year-old twins, Morgan and James, keep journals of what they learn and what they find. But this year, journaling was a little different.

Just after lunch on their first day, as they took a break near Rainbow Falls, their mother surprised everyone with a very old journal. Her grandfather – the twins’ great-grandfather – worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression and lived in the park while he worked. His efforts helped build the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Every day along the trail, she read from the old journal. The twins picked up a lot of information about the park and about their great-grandfather and they visited a few places where he had been.

While they were there, James tried very hard to see salamanders. Those creatures are colorful and plentiful in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. James would have liked to pick up a waterdog (which is not anything like your pet dog) but seeing one was just as good.

Morgan found some lacy, beautiful moths that she photographed. The entire Parker family enjoyed seeing the many waterfalls and rocks in the park and they liked the challenge of a 26-mile hike. Both twins were fascinated by the wide variety of bugs there and knowing that the park may be home to many species of insects that scientists don’t even know about.

And speaking of bugs, Morgan picked up a bug and gave this book its title.

Not going on vacation this year? Give your child an outdoors experience anyhow by looking for this, or any of the “Adventures with the Parkers” books.

The author is a self-professed “national park fanatic” who spends his time exploring our country’s parks. Because of his first-hand knowledge, his series are filled with true-life facts, authentic history, places you can really visit and photographs, all wrapped within a story that kids can relate to.

If you happen to be going to Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer, this book will thrill your 7- to 11-year-old. If you’re going elsewhere or not going at all, grab it anyhow and hand it to your adventuresome kid. “Ridge Runner Rescue” is so much fun, it will have your child parked in one spot for hours.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives in West Salem, Wis., with her two dogs and 9,500 books.

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