Once a vast wetlands west of New York City, home to Native Americans and extensive wildlife, New Jersey’s Meadowlands was diked and drained by early European settlers and later developed and trashed. In the last 40 years, with dumping stopped and restoration begun, some wildlife has returned. Reminiscent of Lynne Cherry's A River Ran Wild (1992) in its subject and design, this appealing story of environmental recovery is simpler in its text and even clearer in its illustrations. Beginning with the Lenni Lanape and ending with a 21st-century child on a field trip, Yezerski surveys human uses as well as the disappearance and reappearance of other forms of life. Detailed ink-and-watercolor illustrations stretch across double-page spreads. A straightforward narrative runs below, and the whole is framed with colored sketches of relevant objects and creatures, each meticulously drawn and helpfully labeled. One page shows industrial products and means of transport, another shows the varied contents of a trash mountain and a third the components of modern residential and commercial development. These are followed by pages showing marsh plants, worms and insects, some of the many varieties of fish that visit the waters, animals that live on the banks and birds that live there or stop by during migration. Though the area described is small, it is representative of wetlands in many parts of the country. The only flaw in this valuable addition to environmental-studies collections is the lack of compass rose on the oddly oriented title-page map. A spectacular offering nevertheless. (author's note, selected bibliography, websites) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-34913-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011


From the Astrid the Astronaut series , Vol. 1

An exuberant portrayal of a girl with hearing restrictions reaching for the stars.

Astrid, a spunky, smart California third grader, has great aspirations.

She will become “the first astronaut with hearing aids,” a possibility that is treated very naturally within this story, the first in a new chapter book series. Joining the Shooting Stars, an after-school club devoted to all things space, has long been part of Astrid’s “Astronomically Grand Plan.” Though Astrid wants to go to space camp, it’s expensive, but a scholarship is available for the Shooting Stars student who earns the most points for completing the STEM-oriented Astro Missions. She discovers another problem when she realizes that her best friend, Hallie, is more interested in art than in STEM and joins the Petite Picassos club. How can Astrid navigate Shooting Stars without her BFF, especially when she and her teammate Veejay don’t start out well? Club teacher Ms. Ruiz stresses creativity and partnership, and math and science enthusiasts will be attracted to this book, but the real emphasis is on relationships. Astrid must befriend Hallie again after voicing her disappointment with her interests and learn to be a good teammate. Astrid is likable, and her story, told in first person, realistically explores her hearing issues, her initial problem-solving failures, and her successes. Black-and-white illustrations depict Astrid (wearing her hearing aids) and her family as light-skinned, though other students appear to be racially diverse, and Hallie is cued as Asian.

An exuberant portrayal of a girl with hearing restrictions reaching for the stars. (Chapter book. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-8148-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022


From the Ada Lace series , Vol. 1

The story feels a bit contrived, but Ada will be a welcome addition to the small circle of science-loving girls in the...

Using science and technology, third-grader Ada Lace kicks off her new series by solving a mystery even with her leg in a cast.

Temporarily housebound after a badly executed bungee jump, Ada uses binoculars to document the ecosystem of her new neighborhood in San Francisco. She records her observations in a field journal, a project that intrigues new friend Nina, who lives nearby. When they see that Ms. Reed’s dog, Marguerite, is missing, they leap to the conclusion that it has been stolen. Nina does the legwork and Ada provides the technology for their search for the dognapper. Story-crafting takes a back seat to scene-setting in this series kickoff that introduces the major players. As part of the series formula, science topics and gadgetry are integrated into the stories and further explained in a “Behind the Science” afterword. This installment incorporates drones, a wireless camera, gecko gloves, and the Turing test as well as the concept of an ecosystem. There are no ethnic indicators in the text, but the illustrations reveal that Ada, her family, and bratty neighbor Milton are white; Nina appears to be Southeast Asian; and Mr. Peebles, an inventor who lives nearby, is black.

The story feels a bit contrived, but Ada will be a welcome addition to the small circle of science-loving girls in the chapter-book world. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8599-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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