Bulldozed years earlier and filled to make a cornfield, a lost creek is found and restored on an Iowa farm.
When Michael Osterholm learned that a creek had once run under his farmland, he determined to restore it. Following old photographs and using heavy machinery to uncover the original bed and add stones to the bottom, he then planted grasses, providing the necessary ingredients for the creek to thrive again. “Mike said the water remembered. / It seeped in from the sides, / raced down the riffles and runs, / burbled into holes, filled the creek.” Plants, insects, frogs, birds, and small fish called sculpin returned on their own. A final touch was to stock the stream with the brook trout that once made it their home. Illustrator McGehee's made her ripply, creature-filled illustrations look like painted woodcuts by using scratchboard, watercolor, and dyes. Her curving lines are filled with life. One striking spread has no color, only the gray outlines of what is to come. Although Osterholm and the restorers appear to be white in the illustrations, a multiracial group is shown enjoying the restored creek at the end. Short lines of text are set in clear areas, but occasionally extra facts appear in tiny letters on the vegetation. The main narrative reads smoothly aloud, and the pictures, though detailed, should show well to a small group. Author’s and illustrator’s notes and a comment from the actual creek rescuer complete the package.
A heartening story of environmental restoration. (Informational picture book. 5-9)