As a child my father never cared much for owning a perfectly manicured front lawn, so I can appreciate Henry Cole’s On Meadowview Street, about a child who turns her suburban front yard into a sort of nature preserve.
Her father is mowing the lawn when Caroline finds a small blossom. She runs to the basement to surround the vulnerable flower with four short posts and a piece of string. But then she finds other flowers growing beyond the appropriated area. Soon a small patch designated for one wildflower becomes a large patch of lawn, and her father sells the lawn mower. Then the family plants a maple tree. Soon the lawn is home to a number of bird houses and a shallow pond, and the neighbors are starting to take notice. They even plant trees of their own.
Henry Cole, who illustrated And Tango Makes Three, has produced a wonderful addition to books about children who appreciate nature and all its offerings. In some ways the book reminded me of The Plant Sitter, another book about a child who is enthusiastic about things that grow. Unlike that classic, however, Caroline’s parents are no obstacle; in fact, they help her dig the pond and build birdhouses. Everyone should have such nice parents. ABZ