'Travel U.S.' with national park mysteries—July 25, 2008
With the high cost of gas this summer, many people have cut back on vacation travel plans. If you weren’t able to visit a national park this summer, you can do a “virtual visit” and enjoy a good mystery at the same time by reading the National Parks Mystery series written by Gloria Skurzynski and Alane Ferguson.
Skurzynski and Ferguson have each written many books for young people, but this series is the first collaboration for this mother-daughter team. Skurzynski lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Ferguson lives in Durango, Colorado. In order to work together on these novels, they connect by phone, fax and e-mail, and they say that they “often forget which one of us wrote a particular line.”
Each mystery in the 13-book series published by National Geographic is set in a different national park, and the authors visited and researched the parks to make the information included in their stories as accurate as possible. Each book also includes an Afterward written by a park historian or other official which contains lots of factual information about the park and the animals found in the story.
The stories center around the Landon family: parents Steve and Olivia and their children, Jack and Ashley. Steve is a photographer and Olivia is a wildlife veterinarian who is often called to help the national parks in emergencies. It is these calls which take the family to the various parks around the United States and which involve Jack and Ashley in solving mysteries while they are there.
“Wolf Stalker,” the first title in the series, takes place in Yellowstone Park, where wolves reintroduced to the Park have killed a dog. The other national parks in the series are: Hawaii Volcanoes, Mesa Verde, Everglades, Glacier, Zion, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Virgin Islands, Acadia, Carlsbad Caverns, Denali, and Great Smoky Mountains. You can see that reading this entire series will take you on a visit to all parts of our country!
Looking for a good mystery this summer? Try the National Parks Mystery series found in the children’s department of the library.