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MEADOWLANDS by Thomas F. Yezerski


A Wetlands Survival Story

by Thomas F. Yezerski & illustrated by Thomas F. Yezerski

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-374-34913-4
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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)