cover image My River

My River

Shari Halpern. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-02-741980-1

A basic ecological concept splashes to life in this picture book project, which won an art school contest for work dealing with environmental concerns. The brief text poses the question ``Whose river is this?,'' while each successive spread introduces a living thing that makes use of the waterway. Frogs, water beetles, cattails and children stake their claims with phrases such as ``I need the river'' and ``I was born here,'' until the text concludes, ``It's everyone's river.'' An illustrated glossary identifies the plants and animals that appear throughout the book. With a painted-paper collage technique after the style of Eric Carle, Halpern depicts a virtual rainbow of life. Ample white backgrounds provide a vivid contrast for the boldly colored creatures and large black type. The message here may sound a bit ponderous to older readers, but younger children will welcome this cheery first look at ecology. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)