Bobbie the Wonder Dog: A True Story
By Tricia Brown, Illustrated by Cary Porter
Publisher: WestWinds Press, 2016
A farm dog named Bobbie finds his way back home from Indiana to Oregon in this true story from the 1920s. When Bobbie’s owners take a driving vacation to visit relatives in Indiana, they take their beloved dog along on the trip. Bobbie is chased by a pack of dogs and becomes lost in an unfamiliar town, and though the owners and friends search for Bobbie, he can’t be found. The brokenhearted owners return to Oregon, and six months later, their dirty, injured dog limps back into his hometown. This long-for-the-format story is both interesting and informative, with a good deal of well-researched period details and skillful inclusion of both emotions and drama in the unfolding story. Finely detailed, soft-focus illustrations with a period feel capture Bobbie’s personality and his difficult journey through a variety of perspectives. Thoughtful art direction shows the owners and Bobbie moving from left to right as they head east, but Bobbie then moves from right to left in the illustrations showing his return trip to the west. A helpful map and an extensive author’s note are pleasing additions, including a photograph of the real Bobbie and his owner. This touching tale has a wide audience, from preschoolers to young readers who like true animal stories to older, reluctant readers who need a strong story with an emotional hook. Dog lovers of any age will find Bobbie and his amazing journey irresistible. (Informational picture book. 4-10)
Alaskan Night Before Christmas
Illustrated by Alan Stacy
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company, September 2008
Former Gov. Sarah Palin:
Alaskan Night Before Christmas is sure to become another classic, gently reminding children and parents alike about keeping the spirit of Christmas year-round, not just when Santa’s watching. Speaking as a mother and an Alaskan, I highly recommend this book.
Santa Claus, North Pole, Alaska:
I love this story of the time my Kotzebue the Caribou landed on the Naughty List, but not for long! I’m so glad I gave Tricia and Alan those pads of paper, pencils, and art supplies so long ago. The dear children have put them to good use.
Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus, Columbia Zoo; host, “Into the Wild”
Alaskan Night Before Christmas is a delightful twist on Santa and his yearly Christmas journey! Tricia Brown and illustrator Alan F. Stacy take us along to the North Pole for this wintry ride, which is actually led by Alaskan caribou–each one named after a real Alaskan town or village. Along the way, they meet up with Star the Reindeer and all learn an important lesson about selfishness in a fun and educational story!
Illustrated by Barbara Lavalle
Publisher: Alaska Northwest Books, 2003
School Library Journal:
Kindergarten-Grade 2 “Brown takes readers to Alaska for a story of pigtailed Kristie and her cat pal, Groucho, so named for the black “eyebrow” markings on his white fur. From games of hide-and-seek (he’s Nanook; she’s “the great Arctic tracker”) to under-the-covers snuggles, the partnership develops until kitty escapes through the door during a package delivery. Kristie’s calls carry escalating dread; she knows about potential predators and a kitty that had stayed out too long on a wintry night. In the end, however, his distinctive eyebrows make the errant cat quite visible amid the snowdrifts. The story is a bit too long, but Lavallee’s cozy paintings keep readers’ interest from straying. The droll-looking cat, the child’s colorful layers of outdoor wear, and the scary and sweet forest scenes give pleasure at every turn. — Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA © Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Laura Hummel – Children’s Literature:
Kristie is delighted to receive a fluffy white kitten with funny black eyebrows. She named him Groucho after a famous man who made people laugh. Kristie dresses Groucho up and takes him for a game of hide-and-seek in the snowy outdoor. Groucho is Nanook, the polar bear, and Kristie is an Arctic tracker. But the game becomes serious when the kitten slips out the door into the snowy wilderness. The devastated child follows tracks in the snow that lead to other animals, but not her beloved Groucho. How can she possibly find a snowy white cat in the winter woods? The heartwarming tale comes to a satisfying conclusion as the clever child focuses on her cat’s distinctive feature. Based on a real snowy white cat named Groucho, the story is beautifully illustrated. Soft breezy watercolors spill across the pages and capture the loving emotions and wintry scenes. 2003, Alaska Northwest Books/Graphic Arts Center Publishing. Ages 6 to 10.
The Iditarod Fact Book: A Complete Guide to the Last Great Race, 2nd Edition
Publisher: Epicenter Press, 2006
(Four stars) Good basic info on Iditarod. Aug 12, 2007
This book is good for beginners, but don’t be fooled; it is packed with history and good information.
(Four stars) Just the facts Ma’am. Feb 7, 2007
If you’re a facts junkie, this is the book for you. Every race, every racer. Great reference or bet settler. –Greg Russell, Duluth, Minn.
Children of the Midnight Sun; Young Native Voices of Alaska
Profiles by Tricia Brown, Photography by Roy Corral
Publisher: Alaska Northwest Books, 2006 (softcover)
Corral’s (My Denali) glorious photographs bring an intimacy to Brown’s eight diverse profiles of Alaskan children, from northernmost Barrow to the islands of St. Paul and Prince of Wales to modernmost Anchorage. The range of landscapes and, consequently, living conditions alone makes for absorbing reading, but the essays tend to bog down in myriad facts. Brown’s writing is strongest when she focuses on the details of daily life, as in the profile “Russian Christmas on the Kuskokwim River.” Unfortunately, the book’s organization doesn’t allow for any overarching conclusion among the recurring customs and cultural themes throughout the profiles, such as the recent renaissance across Alaska of Native arts and languages, and the impact of non-Native settlers on the region. Nonetheless, Corral’s memorable images will draw readers in as his camera captures the meshing of modern and ancient worlds: an Inupiat Eskimo boy wears a cartoon character on a T-shirt as he cuts up pieces of whale skin and blubber for a snack and, clad in sneakers and blue jeans, a Haida Indian girl poses next to the row of totem poles that adorn her school grounds. Author and artist successfully communicate the common thread linking these eight lives: the importance of Native traditions, family bonds and the wisdom and experience of preceding generations as they navigate in modern times. Ages 6-up.
School Library Journal:
(Gr 3-7) –This attractive and informative book gives insight into the lives of eight Native American Alaskan youngsters, ranging in age from 9 to 13. The native groups represented are Inupiat, Yup’ik, Athabascan, Aleut, Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian, and Aleut-Caucasian. Three-page descriptive profiles of each youngster are accompanied by vivid full-color photos. Brown seems to have anticipated the kinds of things kids would want to ask about these Alaskans, given the chance, and offers readers a glimpse at eight distinct personalities and ways of life. Underlining issues regarding native subsistence and rural vs. urban inhabitants are touched upon, but this book primarily gives an honest look at what it is like to be a native child growing up in this state today. The only thing lacking is a phonetic pronunciation guide in the glossary. There are no other books on the market quite like this one. Carolyn Meyer’s In a Different Light (S & S, 1996) explores the Yupik culture; Russ Kendall’s Eskimo Boy (Scholastic, 1992) and Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith’s Arctic Hunter (Holiday House, 1990) both focus on the Inupiat culture, while Hoyt-Goldsmith’s Totem Pole (1990) and Potlatch (1997, both Holiday House) feature Tsimshian protagonists. All who read Children of the Midnight Sun will come away with an enriched view of the lives of young native Alaskans. A must buy for both school and public libraries. –Mollie Bynum, formerly at Chester Valley Elementary School, Anchorage, AK
Horn Book Magazine
Inviting photographs of five young Alaskan Natives make up the cover of this book, which is a fresh balance of traditional and contemporary, particular and cross-cultural. In her survey of children from eight different Alaskan Native groups, Tricia Brown focuses not on “customs,” but on daily life, with a welcome dollop of history that gives the portraits depth and context. In her profile of the Aleut girl Katiana Bourdukofsky, for example, Brown discusses the influence of the Russian Orthodox church as well as the little-known WWII relocation of many of the Pribilof island Aleuts to “an abandoned cannery in Southeast Alaska, where many fell ill and died from poor sanitation and disease.”
Elsewhere, a Tlingit boy describes clan relationships (“an Eagle can’t marry an Eagle, and a Raven can’t marry a Raven”); and an Inupiat boy describes life at the top of the world in Barrow: Doritos, fried whale, all-terrain vehicles, polar bears, and the ancient game of the blanket toss. The tone is upbeat and tourist-friendly, but the kids are distinct, and Roy Corral’s many sharp color photos reveal both people and place unguarded. There’s a good clear map, an informative glossary, and a reading list of titles from regional presses.
Brown profiles eight children of Alaska’s indigenous populations in their own environments–ocean, inland, and tundra–at home, school, and play, where they fish, carve totems, ride bikes, and dance at potlatches. Each child represents a distinct community of people, from the northernmost Inupiat to the coastal Tlingit and Haida. A short history of each culture is included along with everyday activities, interests, and traditions. Survival skills are a way of life for many, in sharp contrast to the supermarket societies of the lower 48. Every child is linked to his or her ancestry through grandparents or other elders who pass on the tools, customs, and trades of a vanishing way of life, from catching, cleaning, and drying fish to killing moose and building emergency shelters. Young people also participate in the traditional dances and ceremonies, and more. The book acknowledges the drastic changes of the last few decades, with the advent of satellite television, access to transportation, and the Internet, but focuses on the preservation or reawakening of culture through each child. Full-color photographs contrast images to convey life in a commercial fishing village or in Anchorage’s Town Square, amid the flowering tundra or perched on a seal-strewn beach. (glossary, further reading) (Nonfiction. 7-12)
The World-Famous Alaska Highway: A Guide to the ALCAN and Other Wilderness Roads of the North, 3rd edition
Text and photos by Tricia Brown
Alaska Northwest Books, April 2008
RV Life Magazine, August 2008:
An easy-to-read, concise summary of what awaits you in Alaska, packed into 288 pages. . . . This is the third edition of [Brown’s] book, which is loaded with practical information delivered in a straightforward way. She tells you what you should bring in an RV and what you need to leave at home, describes what you will see along the way, and offers guidance on lodging, campgrounds and restaurants.
Midwest Book Review:
The World-Famous Alaska Highway is the ideal guide for anyone traveling up and down the Alaskan Highway. This compendium of historic sites, roadside attractions, dramatic views, wildlife sighting sites, recreational resources (hiking, biking, fishing, rafting, canoeing, cruising, flying, festivals, rodeos, parades, races, museums, theme parks) will ensure the success of any excursion from day trips to full-fledged vacations. The World-Famous Alaska Highway also offers practical money-saving, comfort enhancing advice on preparing your vehicle, roadway considerations and routes, as well as up-to-date contact numbers and websites for cities throughout the region and serviced by the Alaskan Highway. If you are planning just such a journey for business or pleasure, begin with a thorough reading of Tricia Brown’s The World-Famous Alaska Highway!
Amazon reader Ron Spatz:
Handy, practical, and refreshing describe this guide to the Alcan Highway and other roads of the North. Tricia Brown’s friendly voice and personal insights bring the adventure to life for me. Although I’ve driven the Alcan many times over the years, there’s much to see and much to learn. I plan to pack this Guide along with my gear for my next trip.
The Itchy Little Musk Ox
By Tricia Brown, Illustrations by Debra Dubac
Alaska Northwest Books, 2006
Selected multiple times for Alaska Battle of the Books
Midwest Book Review:
The Itchy Little Musk Ox is a softcover children’s picture book about an unhappy young musk ox. He has an itch he can’t scratch from his own soft wool, and his downward-pointing horns won’t reach it. When he finds the right tree to scratch his itch, he becomes separated from the herd! On his long journey to rejoin them he discovers all the good things about being a musk ox – his horns and hard head are good for headbutting a hungry wolf, and his soft wool is prized by a gentle human. A two-page summary of fascinating facts about musk oxen closes this delightful adventure, illustrated in full color, recommended for readers age 3 and up.
Fairbanks: Alaska’s Heart of Gold
By Tricia Brown, Photography by Roy Corral
Alaska Northwest Books, 2000
Amazon customer review:
(Five stars) Concise introduction to the Golden Heart City, March 9, 2006
I bought this as a primer for my (future) trip to Fairbanks. Some consider this frontier town, and not Los Anchorage, to be the real Alaska. The authors include interesting historical tidbits, demographics and myths. I’ve donated most of my books to charity, but this one’s a keeper 🙂
Sled Dog Wisdom
Epicenter Press, 2016
If you have been needing humorous and heart-warming tales from Alaska’s mushers, this is the book for you.