Doctor Gunnar purchases a small piece of dry pastureland and decides to restore it to its original wetlands status. Planning, hard work, and on-going care are required. Hiring a plane to fly above the land, the Doctor researches previous streambeds and blocked water flows. Using a bulldozer and a crane, he begins work on his dream. As the conversion progresses, farm wild life grows, from Hoagie and Zoe (Gunnar's dogs) to include snakes, rabbits, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, turtles, fish, geese, ducks, frogs, beaver, elk, cougars, and bears. Pine saplings, wildflowers, cattails, pondweed, and water lilies also establish themselves in Betts Meadow. Doctor Gunnar reminds us that sometimes progress is achieved by moving backwards. A list of wetland plants and animals living in Betts Meadow is included. Informational addresses and references are listed on the last page. Simple language and drawings clearly tell the tale in this picture book. A "Wetlands" story. 2002, The Millbrook Press,
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Sayres recounts how Gunnar Holmquist bought and restored a 140-acre dry pasture to its natural wetland state. After mapping the meadow to discover where streams had flowed, he dug ponds, planted trees and wildflowers, restocked fish, and watched the landscape change through the seasons. The return of animals, birds, and plants will gladden readers as much as it did Holmquist. While many books document the destruction of habitats, this simple text offers hope that people can make a difference. The full-spread illustrations are adequate. This book might be paired with Molly Cone's Squishy, Misty, Damp and Muddy (Sierra Club, 1996; o.p.), which includes many fine photos of the wetland environment. Sayres concludes with brief introductions to wetland plants and animals found in Betts Meadow in Washington state. She includes addresses of conservation organizations and lists some books with information about wetlands restoration. All of them are quite lengthy and aimed at a much older readership. On its own, this picture book can encourage readers to participate in preserving and enhancing their natural surroundings.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.