Reviews of Welcome to Death Valley! A Guided Tour Through California's Death Valley National Park, written and illustrated by Janet Morgan


"Death Valley has many faces, but this is one deeply thought and profound!"
- Kurt Diemberger, Mountaineer




Welcome to Death Valley - Book Review by Merri Melde


Artist and writer Janet Morgan, of Art & Adventures kindly sent The Raven her latest children's book, "Welcome to Death Valley!"

The book is near and dear to The Raven's heart, not only because he's hiked and flown around Death Valley National Park, and ridden through parts of it on horseback, but Janet's story is told by Ravenna and Ramón, two Ravens who live in the park and who know all its secrets!

Through observant and clever Raven eyes, Ravenna and Ramón give us a guided tour, from the lowest point in Death Valley, Badwater Basin, the salty playa 282 feet below sea level, to the highest point, Telescope Peak, at 11,043 feet; past Zabriskie Point and Gower Gulch, over the spectacular Sand Dunes, through Desolation Canyon, Mosaic Canyon, and Ubehebe Crater.

The Ravens also share other things not as well known: the secrets of the night life in the sand dunes; the special colors of Death Valley in different light; the geology of the mountains and alluvial fans and valleys and ancient waterfalls and lakes, now dry; and, in one of the hottest and driest places on earth, hidden oases with precious water.

Janet has created art around the world and spent much time exploring Death Valley and visiting with Ravens. Her bright and colorful illustrations demonstrate the beauty of Death Valley that the Ravens live in and see every day.

It's not just a children's book. It's also a Raven book, and it's a collector's work of art!

See Janet's website, or order her book, "Welcome to Death Valley!" at


Death Valley Children’s Book Animates the Arroyos

On April 3rd 2012, at Furnace Creek Visitor Center in Death Valley, artist Janet Morgan unveils her new book on the park, along with a month-long exhibition of paintings by Janet and her husband, Gregory Frux.

Morgan was already on the leading edge of landscape art in her role—shared with Greg—as an adventure artist. Together the two have traipsed Peru, Patagonia, Antarctica and remote California deserts in the style of early expedition artists. Now the three-time Death Valley artist-in-residence leads the way again in her children’s book  Welcome to Death Valley.

As two ravens, Ravenna and Ramón, explore the desert from on high, we learn about alluvial fans, virga (rain that doesn’t touch the ground) and Panamint daisies. But that is only the surface plot. Underneath the facts expected by parents and teachers is a landscape animated by a mystic’s consciousness. This is Agnes Pelton style transcendence disguised as a children’s book.

The raven duo tumbles in and out of Badwater Basin (“shiny blackness against the white salt”) and explores Telescope Peak. Meanwhile the mountains shift. The sky flares. Everything is in motion.

A belly dancer and former arts therapist who worked with cancer patients, Morgan has a feel for the forces just under the surface of the natural world. Ravenna and Ramón–and the reader by extension–become part of the swirling, exploding colorful desert. “It hums and rattles and caws,” Janet says of Death Valley. The same could be said of her book.

Along with the book launch, Janet Morgan and Greg Frux present paintings made over seven years of visits to the park, three times as artists-in-residence. Gregory Frux, too, delves deep into geology and natural forces in paintings informed by his close contact with the rock as a climber.

At the April 3rd opening, at 7 pm, the couple will present a slide show on their explorations as visiting artists. In addition to Welcome to Death Valley, a 48-page full-color catalogue of the exhibit will be available for $20. Death Valley: An Ongoing Exploration  includes essays by James McElhinney, artist, scholar and instructor at Pratt Institute and The Art Students League, and Rowland Russell PhD., environmental educator.

Here in California, we’ll keep looking east to Brooklyn (where Janet and Greg live) for the latest in desert art.



"Your paintings are beautiful and offer a quality of imagery rarely found in children's books. The time, effort, and thought that you have invested in this project are readily apparent." - Tim Hopkins, Editorial Asssistant, Heyday Books.


"What a pretty book and your explanations and activities are enjoyable." - Karen Fisk, Children's Books, Tilbury House Publishers.


"I just went through it. You blew me of my socks! The idea of Ravenna and Ramone is great and your paintings and drawings are just superb. Incredible colours! What a feeling! And I knew you were just a fun story teller, bringing a good mix of fun and facts and history."
- the writer Ireen Houben"


"Death Valley has many faces, but this is one deeply thought and profound! “  -  Kurt Diemberger, Author and Mountaineer