The Resource Meadowlands : a wetlands survival story, Thomas F. Yezerski

Meadowlands : a wetlands survival story, Thomas F. Yezerski

Meadowlands : a wetlands survival story
Title remainder
a wetlands survival story
Statement of responsibility
Thomas F. Yezerski
Introduces readers to the meadowlands, twenty thousand acres of wetlands in New Jersey, discussing the destruction that humans have caused, and the changes that have reversed some of the damage
The history of the Meadowlands, from its pristine state, to its gradual transformation by European settlers, to the pollution caused by industrialization, and the changes brought by environmental organizations striving to protect it
Illustration line
  • /* Starred Review */ Gr 2 – 5 — Yezerski documents the fall and rise of the Meadowlands, an estuary in New Jersey where the Hackensack River reaches Newark Bay. When the Lenni Lenape lived there, more than 20,000 acres of marshes and bogs housed countless varieties of plants and animals. The wetlands' decline started when European settlers drained land and filled marshes. By the middle of the 20 century, the Meadowlands had sunk into a wasteland of polluted water, soil, and air. Since the state passed regulations in 1969 to stop industrial dumping and promote shopping, housing, and entertainment, the wetlands have made a slow recovery. Plants, insects, fish, and birds now coexist with humans. Yezerski notes the contributions of activists, businesses, governments, and volunteers in nourishing the change. Double-page illustrations are ringed by smaller related images along the outer edges of the pages. The view of mounds of burning trash and piles of junk at the Meadowlands' low point conveys a powerful message of environmental degradation. What is particularly striking about the views of the present is the juxtaposition of human activity with animal life. High-rise apartments, freight trains, and power lines can be seen from the newly restored areas where animals thrive. The goal is not displacement but coexistence. Although readers who know the Meadowlands personally will have a special interest in the topic, the idea of fostering and protecting plant and animal habitats in urban environments can resonate with a broad audience.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato --Kathy Piehl (Reviewed March 1, 2011) (School Library Journal, vol 57, issue 3, p146)
  • /* Starred Review */ Judicious ink and watercolor illustrations pair with tender prose to tell the story of the Meadowlands estuary in New Jersey, which bounced back from being "one of the worst places in America." Yezerski paints a vivid history of the place where the Hackensack River meets Newark Bay, and where the Lenni Lenape lived for thousands of years. During the 1800s, the Meadowlands were logged and by the mid-20th century, it had become a sewage and garbage dump. With restrained elegance, Yezerski describes how the Meadowlands has slowly recovered, while nimble border art offers signs of the times, as oysters and Conestoga wagons give way to benzene, mercury, mobsters, and, later, the re-emergence of wildlife. The healthy comingling of urban and natural worlds in the final spreads makes this portrait especially poignant. Ages 5–8. (Mar.) --Staff (Reviewed February 28, 2011) (Publishers Weekly, vol 258, issue 09, p)
  • 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)(Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2011)
Cataloging source
Dewey number
  • illustrations
  • maps
no index present
Literary form
non fiction
  • -1
  • 4
Nature of contents
Target audience
a wetlands survival story
a wetlands survival story
Thomas F. Yezerski
Meadowlands : a wetlands survival story, Thomas F. Yezerski
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references
24 x 27 cm.
1st ed.
[32] p.
Other physical details
col. ill., col. map

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