by Thomas F. Yezerski

Price at time of review: $17.99
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc.
New York, NY
ISBN: 9780374349134

Grade Level: K-2

Reviewed by CBC Reviewer

Many students may associate "The Meadowlands" with its stadium. If they have traveled there, they may have noted, or ignored, much of the abandoned urban area around it. This story of habitat recovery will be both surprising and inspiring.

The book has a strong main text and unique borders and illustrations that encourage reexamination of the habitat by students from elementary through secondary school. It describes 20,000 acres in New Jersey that once held a pristine estuary, how they were changed by 200 years of human habitation and chemical pollution, and how parts of the area are now being restored. Passersby often see only the signs of human neglect in open areas adjacent to cities like this one. The author and illustrator of this book identify clues to the beauty of the original meadowlands habitat and describe the vibrant regenerative power of the flora and fauna there once pollutants are removed.

In watercolor illustrations that have been described as "festive," the book presents a story of hope not only for this habitat but for urban environments all over the country. A detailed map can be used to do further research (using links like the National Atlas or Google Earth). This was an NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Book.

Review posted on 1/20/2012

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