For less than the cost of half a tank of gas (and for only a little more than a single pit stop’s purchase of enough snacks and Sprite and whatnot to keep everyone content for the next 100 miles), Diane Siebert and Stephen T. Johnson offer a 48-page alternative to a round-the-country ramble.
From the Everglades to an Alaskan view of the aurora borealis, Tour America (Chronicle Books, 6/06) covers a lot of ground — and not just geographically. Siebert’s poems range widely in tone and form: Her environmentalist-minded tweaking of Paul Bunyan is as fun as her Cape Canaveral ode is touching, and the rushed, packed stanzas in her vibrant salute to Chicago’s El contrast nicely with “Badlands,” which looks like that craggy, wide-open South Dakota landscape.
Caldecott Honor recipient Johnson (Alphabet City), meanwhile, must have turned his entire studio upside down to come up with so many different media for the art on these pages. A little oil on canvas, a little graphite on paper, a little digital collage — paired with the variety of the locales honored and of Siebert’s verse, the result is the most fuel-efficient hybrid you’ll find this summer.