cover image Where Once There Was a Wood

Where Once There Was a Wood

Denise Fleming, Author, Denise Fleming, Illustrator Henry Holt & Company $17.95 (34p) ISBN 978-0-8050-3761-6

This ardent plea for the conservation of wildlife habitats contains some of Fleming's (In the Small, Small Pond; Lunch, see p. 70) most accomplished artwork ever. Her paintings, composed of richly dyed and textured cotton rag fiber, sustain an emotional but controlled intensity. Through a combination of earthy browns and grays, occasionally splashed with bold yellow, red and blue, Fleming depicts a graceful natural world that she fears is disappearing. In the form of a single brief verse, she accompanies her art with a chronicle of creatures displaced by a newly erected housing development, ""where once the heron fished/ and speared his glittering food.../ sit houses side by side/ twenty houses deep."" Four well-designed pages follow the text with specific, practical suggestions about how communities and and individuals can help ""welcome wildlife"" to a backyard habitat. Addresses for further information and useful, anecdotal hints are also included. A beautiful call to action. Ages 5-10. (Apr.)