Erin McLain

Ricky Discovers the Sonoran Desert

Hardcover, Paperback



Ricky was scared. They were leaving New England, where everything was green, and moving to Arizona, where nothing was green—or so Ricky thought. His father was going to teach horticulture at a high school, and his mother was going to help refugees learn English.

Ricky didn’t want to move. There would be scorpions, giant spiders, skulls and bones half-buried in sand, and plants with spines that reached out and grabbed you. He knew about these plants because the boy next door had visited his grandmother in Tucson, and he told Ricky about the jumping cactus that leapt onto your clothes and stabbed you.

They moved in March just as the desert was just coming into bloom. The desert floor was carpeted with a rainbow of wildflowers, and Ricky had never seen so many different shades of green. Oh my! This wasn’t at all what he’d imagined.

About the Author

Erin Mary McLain graduated from the University of Arizona, she moved to a rural community on the edge of Arizona’s Fort Apache Reservation to fulfill her dream of community service through helping the less fortunate.

She only got to practice 21 months before her life was taken from her by a medical error after a tonsillectomy. Erin received many plaques for academic achievement. When she died, it was found that most of the boxes remained unopened. She hadn’t cared about awards. Her only goal had been to become the best pediatrician she could possibly be.

“If we have healthy children, we have healthy adults.”
Erin Mary McLain

About the Illustrator

Betsy Feinberg is a writer, artist, naturalist, and illustrator who lives in the Sonora Desert, where she communes with jackrabbits, lizards, and other desert creatures, when she’s not drawing animals at Tucson’s Reid Park Zoo.

Additional information

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Hardcover, Paperback


Betsy Hoyt Feinberg


Erin McLain


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