My husband and I like to walk. One of our favorite places to go walking is at Quail Ridge Park in Wentzville, Missouri. It sports a beautiful paved walking trail which is about three miles long if you go from the parking lot to the end of the loop. You can make it longer or shorter depending on how you do it.
Our walks take us through sunny and shady areas, past several playgrounds (one featuring a sculpture of two children and a rabbit), a dog park, and one fairly challenging uphill climb. But one of the most beautiful and serene areas is over a bridge and around a small lake. We’ve seen turtles, ducks and squirrels, a snake, fish, and once a deer that crossed our path. It’s peaceful and inspiring, and good exercise.
But there was an added dimension this summer with the posting of the pages from Peter Brown’s picture book, The Curious Garden. On the first board was the title page from the book, along with the following message:
“Welcome to the Picture Book Walk at Quail Ridge Park, a partnership between the St. Charles county Parks Department and the St. Charles City-County Library District. You’re about to read The Curious Garden by Peter Brown, a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and author of books for children. While you walk around the trail, enjoy the story of Liam, a young boy who turns a dreary industrial area into a beautiful garden. Savor the story and its lovely illustrations as you enjoy being in the beauty of nature.”
For a children’s author, what could be better than combining a picture book about a garden with nature itself!
"The picture book walk begins at the paved trail below the Quail Ridge Lodge and wraps around the picturesque lake. The nearly one-mile-long walk features 17 numbered signs which encompass all 32 colorful pages of Brown's popular children's book. The walk was designed for families with young children in mind, and is convenient for strollers and bicycles to easily maneuver around the lakeside path." --from the St. Charles County Parks department website
"The picture book walk promotes the love of reading with the enjoyment of the outdoors," says Parks Director Bettie Yahn-Kramer. "It's a free, festive, educational program that appeals to all ages."
If you live in the Wentzville area, west of St. Louis, you can still enjoy this outdoor experience which will be in place at the park through August 31. Quail Ridge Park opens daily at 7 a.m. and closes a half hour after dusk.
The Curious Garden, written and illustrated by Peter Brown, is a NY Times bestseller, an ALA Notable Children’s Book (2010), and received the E.B. White Read-Aloud Picture Book Award (2010) and the Children’s Choice Illustrator of the Year Award (2010). Visit Peter Brown’s website for more information about the author/illustrator and his books.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 2009,