Monday, September 3, 2012

Charlie & Trike in the Grand Canyon Adventure

The Grand Canyon has long been a favorite topic among creation scientists (scientists who believe the Bible offers a literal explanation of the world's beginnings); and in Charlie and Trike in the Grand Canyon Adventure, written by Ken Ham and Karen Hansel, a little monkey named Charlie and his friend, a dinosaur named Trike, take their first trip to that magnificent natural wonder.

Charlie is immediately suspicious of their tour guide, a burly man with an eye patch, but soon forgets his worries as he discovers two fossils of sea creatures. How did they end up in the middle of the canyon? Trike talks about Noah's flood, and how this explains why sea creature fossils are found in places far from the ocean. Charlie isn't sure he believes in the flood - then he notices his food is disappearing. Immediately he thinks their pirate-looking tour guide is stealing it...Not long after, their tour guide saves Charlie's life.

Reflecting on how wrong he was about their tour guide, Charlie asks Trike how he knows the Bible is true. "We have to trust the One Who gave people the Bible," he replies. Just like Charlie had to trust their tour guide to help him. And the thief? Turns out it's a little squirrel. Charlie admits to their guide, "I was wrong about you from the start."

Throughout the book are fun features like flaps to lift, envelopes with notes inside, foldable maps, and mini books pasted inside to shed more light on specific topics like fossils, Noah's flood, etc.

What I Like: I really like all the little extras that come with this book; every kid loves lift-the-flaps, and my children are also fascinated by the mini books, maps, and so on. I also appreciate having a book that tries to explain the the Grand Canyon from a biblical perspective.

What I Dislike: I appreciate Ken Ham's work, but he is not a strong writer, especially when it comes to children's books. Among the faults in this book are that sometimes the story jumps oddly. For example, the first page talks about Charlie getting ready for his trip. Then you turn the page and suddenly he's getting into the tour bus. It confused my kids. The authors also don't give a decent explanation about why we should believe the Bible; I know this topic could take a book to thoroughly cover, but surely the authors could have come up with something more compelling than, "just believe." The illustrations by Portland Studios are okay - a sort of computer animation style - but I would have preferred something that could show off the beauty of the Canyon better.

Overall Rating: Because I know of no other children's book for this age group that explains the Grand Canyon as a creation of Noah's flood, I give this book a Good rating. And - especially if you're visiting the Grand Canyon or studying it in school - this book still makes a decent addition to the family bookshelf.

Age Appeal: I'd say 6 to 9 or so.

Publishing Info: New Leaf Publishing; 2010; ISBN: 978-0890515693; hardback, 24 pgs., $15.99.

Special Info: Although this book says it's the first in a series called The Green Notebook, I cannot see that any other series books were actually published. You may also wish to visit Ham's Answers in Genesis for kids website or see the book's trailer at

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