Title: Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story
Author and Illustrator: Thomas F. Yezerski
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Concepts: barter, economic role of government, industry, natural resources
Review: This nonfiction picture book tells the story of the area of New Jersey wetlands known as the Meadowlands. The story begins with the Lenni Lenape who use the land and its resources for shelter, food, and so forth and moves on to the European settlers who use the natural resources as products to sell back home and to trade with the Lenni Lenape. Eventually, tons of industry crops up in the area due to access to New York City as well as ports and rivers for further trading. Over time, this results in the area being overrun with garbage and pollution, destroying the native flora and fauna. At this point, the state government comes in to help remedy the situation.
Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story illustrates the delicate dance between nature and industry. The state government’s actions, along with those of activists, conservationists, and volunteers, result in a mix of the two in the Meadowlands. Some of the land is dedicated to shopping centers, housing, and sports stadiums while some of it remains as protected wetlands. To that end, a large portion of the book focuses on the present ecosystem but even here the delicate watercolor illustrations remind the reader of human endeavors in the region, with images of trains, bridges, and so forth in the background. The book ends with the extra resources of an author’s note, bibliography and webliography.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children