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On Meadowview Street Hardcover – April 24, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 2—Caroline and her family have recently moved to Meadowview Street, in a development where all of the properties look alike and there's not a meadow in sight. The girl is about to go in search of one when she notices a small flower. "It's beautiful! Caroline said to herself. And all alone." She asks her dad to work around it while mowing the lawn, hurries inside to find string and sticks, and builds a "small wildflower preserve." As other flowers bloom, she enlarges the area. Dad puts the lawn mower up for sale, and, with the help of her parents, Caroline (surely an heir to Barbara Cooney's Miss Rumphius) sets about transforming her suburban backyard into a teeming ecosystem. Soon there are butterflies, birds, a pond, flowers, trees, and a real meadow on Meadowview Street. "And soon, the Jacksons' yard changed. And the Smiths'. And the Sotos'." Cole's economical text and tender, acrylic paintings tell the story with simplicity and energy as the barren strip of grass evolves into a lush habitat. This lovely picture book offers children a quiet approach to embracing the natural world.—Kathleen Whalin, York Public Library, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* When Caroline and her family move to a ticky-tacky suburban development, their street's pleasant name prompts an exploratory stroll to see if there really is a meadow on Meadowview Street. The girl doesn't get far before she spies a beautiful, solitary flower on her own lawn. Caroline cordons off the bloom, creating a small wildflower preserve that expands as her thoughtful additions (a maple, bird feeders, a pond) allow nature to take root and thrive. The jab at soulless suburbia and its faux-bucolic trappings may be most appreciated by adults, but the crucial message (especially about the importance of green corridors, migration paths for birds and beasts) will speak strongly to today's ecologically aware children. And it's all done without stridency. Cole's understated watercolors match the tale's gentle tone, while still showcasing the satisfying contrast between the antiseptic tract houses and the riotous, organic tangle of Caroline's front-yard Eden. The artwork also hints at the metaphorical blossoming of the lonely newcomer as the growth of the garden both parallels and prompts new connections with neighborhood children. Similarities abound with Sarah Stewart's The Gardener (1997), a natural companion, but this story's contemporary setting will have particular resonance for many young readers, who can identify with the empowered girl as they applaud her efforts' many benefits. Mattson, Jennifer
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On Meadowview Street , by Henry Cole, describes the tale of a young girl moving to a new neighborhood. Having moved probably twenty times in my forty years of life, I instantly could relate to the moving truck on the first page and the furniture on the lawn as the family moved into their new house. The girl, Caroline, soon notices a small blossom as her father is mowing. She develops a bond as she admires its beauty. Caroline decides she'll save this flower. She puts up a string fence around the flower. The father agrees, as it's less mowing for him. My husband really likes this path of least resistance too. We'll have to plant even more natives to cut down on his mowing.
As she protected her small wildlife preserve, she noticed another wildflower and expanded her fence until it was quite large. Butterflies started to visit. Her father put the lawn mower up for sale. Caroline decided she needed a shady spot and her parents helped get a maple tree for the yard. Soon, a wren visited the tree. Of course, they needed to build a bird house for the wren. A nest was built in the birdhouse. Caroline realized they would need water and she and her dad mad a pond.
"The more Caroline and her family worked on their yard, the more it changed. It was now a home to many things." As we read through the story, more and more life is found in the yard, in contrast to the short lawns in neighboring yards. Children, however, are peeking over the fence to see the many things in Caroline's yard. Soon, the neighbors' yards start changing as well.
"Now there really was a meadow On Meadowview Street . . . and a home for everyone." Many of the animals and flowers that can be found in the yard are illustrated, from the mud turtle to the brown bat, to the black-eyed Susan.
This is a simple book with lovely illustrations. It's a great read aloud book. The reader easily can see the sequence of events as the yard keeps growing and growing, becoming a great natural habitat.
I immediately think of the book, Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded e by Doug Tallamy as I look through the illustrations. He advocates native plants that will host the insects that the larger animals need to continue the food chain. Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded is a great counter part book for adults to understand on a more scientific level the need to use our yards for more than lush green grass that supports little wildlife.
"The more Caroline and her family worked on their yard, the more it changed. It was now a home to many things . . . . And soon, the Jacksons' yard changed. And the Smiths'. And the Sotos'."
My yard is a gigantic work in progress, but my family is busy transforming our yard just like Caroline's family and their neighbors. Gardening and books . . . two of my favorite things in this world wrapped-up in one lovely little book! That is why I am totally in love with Caroline and this book!
I adore this book!
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