Torrey Pines Summer

goodlife guide

by Alice Michael Evans

What is the most extraordinary summer a child could ever imagine? Would it include going with ten year-old Kai and his eight year-old cousin Izzy on a midnight grunion run, discovering the mystery of a pool carved into a 48 million year-old rock, standing inches from a mighty mountain lion, assisting with the rescue of a pygmy pilot whale, camping with tales of the Kumeyaay Native Americans, learning how to surf, and much more?
Torrey Pines Summer, set at the beautiful Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla, California enables the reader to experience an awe-inspiring, adventure-filled summer of marine biology, botany, geography, archaeology, zoology, history and geology! Although rooted in non-fiction, this is a cleverly woven tale of two young children discovering of all that nature has to offer. Torrey Pines Summer is a jewel for readers of all ages, but particularly second through fourth grade audiences. The summer adventure story is told from the perspective of Kai, who is an Illinois farm boy with a mop of blonde hair. At his birthday party he opens a mysterious box with some very strange objects inside. All are clues that he will be spending the upcoming summer with his Uncle Dylan and Aunt Lin. Uncle Dylan is the supervising park ranger at a majestic natural reserve adjacent to the Pacific Ocean in southern California. Kai’s younger cousin, Izzy will join him on this summer of a lifetime! Izzy and Kai awaken each morning with an exciting itinerary. Their adventures include hiking breathtaking trails overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Along the trails they will learn about plants with unusual-sounding names, such as the Prickly Skunk Flower and a Bladderpod! The cousins will also learn about geological formations, such as the 48 million year-old Del Mar Formation. The mystery of “Witch’s Broom”, spotted in some Torrey Pine trees, intrigue Izzy and Kai and they are anxious to learn more about the rarest pine tree in the United States. Kai contemplates a career as a taxidermist when he observes dozens of preserved animals in the Torrey Pines Lodge. The adobe museum includes many other fascinating displays, such as Kumeyaay Native American artifacts. While camping out one evening, Uncle Dylan tells the cousins tales of the brave and industrious Kumeyaay people. Uncle Dylan reveals his abiding love for the Kumeyaay and his deep sense of responsibility to protect and preserve their ancestral home, the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. This lesson of devotion and preservation is not lost on his impressionable niece and nephew! The study of marine biology is enhanced with trips to La Jolla Cove for snorkeling and to the La Jolla Children’s Pool for observation of seals and sea lions found in their natural habitat. Surf lessons and hikes on the beach are other opportunities for ocean life exploration, along with a trip to the Birch Aquarium. Kai and Izzy also get up close and personal with a Pygmy Pilot Whale that has washed ashore and is being rescued by Sea World employees. Torrey Pines Summer features colorful collages of photos for each chapter, along with Kai’s summer journal of notes. At the end of the adventure story are probing questions that serve as a tool for the Common Core Standards. All profits from the sale of Torrey Pines Summer will be donated to the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, which is observing its 150th

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