Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Book Review: Mardy Murie Did!

March 8, 2011, 1:47 pm

Alaska is famous for its stunning beauty, towering mountains, desolate tundra and sled dogs teams. And over her 101 years of life, Mardy Murie experienced all of the above and much more. Championed as the Grandmother of the Conservation Movement, the woman who spent her formative years in Alaska became instrumental in the creation of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, enlargement of Grand Teton National Park and the passing of the Wilderness Act.

The children’s book Mardy Maurie Did!, written by J.P. McDaniel, takes a look at the life of Margaret (Mardy) Murie. McDaniel uses repetition and onomatopoeia to make the book a great bedtime story for kids ages 4 to 8. Each page asks the reader if they have seen or experienced certain things in nature, such as the howling wolf or a spring meadow, followed by the phrase, “Mardy Murie did!”

The prose is simple in description, but creates natural scenes through questions. The story is both educational and entertaining as children can learn about the environment Murie fought to protect and the beauty she saw in it. It encourages exploration of that natural world while paying tribute to Murie.

The illustrations, created by Jon Van Zyle, help bring to life the wilderness of Alaska with full-page art covered in vibrant colors. From caribou herds to the Northern Lights, the pictures take over the pages and depict the vibrant tundra. With purple mountains, dogsled teams and wild wolves, the paintings reflect the visuals that Murie lived with each day.

The book pays homage to a remarkable life as Murie makes an appearance in the final pages. Murie became the first woman to graduate from the University of Alaska and pushed for preservation across the country. Her ranch in Wyoming is a National Historic Monument and President Clinton bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom upon Murie in 1998, the highest civilian honor.

Murie made great strides for the environment, however there is still much that can be done. The Murie Center works in conjunction with Grand Teton National Park to encourage conservation of the natural world. Visit http://www.muriecenter.org/ to find out how you can help!