On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole

This is a picture book close to my heart because it teaches an important ecological lesson to children (but is not preachy at all). When Caroline and her family move into a new house on Meadowview Street, Caroline wonders where is the view of the meadow? All she sees are houses and grass. But one day, there is a wildflower growing in the lawn. She asks her dad to mow around it and encloses it to create her own wildflower preserve. Then another and another wildflower pops up. Soon, her dad has put the lawnmower up for sale. Once Caroline has the flowers, butterflies appear. She then adds a tree and birds appear. Caroline then adds a birdhouse to the meadow and she and her father dig a pond for water for the creatures now visiting her meadow, which include birds, butterflies and other insects, and other creatures such as turtles. Other neighbors see what Caroline has created and they also transform their lawns in wildflower meadows.

This issue is more important than ever now with the earth suffering from the effects of global climate change and all the other destruction caused by mankind. Approximately 100 million pounds of toxic chemicals are put into the environment every year to maintain lawns. These chemicals poison the land, leach into wells where they can contaminate the water supply, and even drift into households and contaminate indoor air and surfaces. Wildlife ingest the poison, dogs that play in the yard ingest the poison, children are exposed when playing outside and even inside from the drift. Cancer, higher rates of infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects, immune suppression, and liver and kidney dysfunction are some of the results of exposure to such toxins. In a study by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 9,000 people had their blood and urine tested and pesticides were found in 100% of those tested. All this for grass? And another thing: honeybees that are in danger of becoming extinct feed on weeds such clover and dandelions, so these weeds are important! I am so strongly opposed to these chemicals and I hope that children who read this book will learn to respect the natural world and maybe they will take the lesson to heart and grow up to not use chemicals and to support organic gardening and farming methods.


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