cover image On Meadowview Street

On Meadowview Street

Henry Cole. Greenwillow, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-056481-0

The front lawn of Caroline’s new home is like all the others in her cookie-cutter subdivision—it’s a simple, sterile patch of green that falls far short of the “Meadowview” that her street name promises. But after she saves the yard’s single wildflower from her father’s lawnmower, Caroline is inspired to turn her lawn into a tiny nature preserve. Mom agrees to buy a maple tree, Dad is only too willing to sell the lawnmower and help his daughter build birdhouses and a pond and an idyllic habitat begins to take shape—one that inspires their neighbors. “And soon, the Jacksons’ yard changed. And the Smiths’. And the Sotos’,” writes Cole (On the Way to the Beach ). “Now there really was a meadow on Meadowview Street.” As a writer, Cole is almost reportorial in tone; he wisely chooses not to limn the depth of his heroine’s emotional landscape, which could have turned his book into a sappy “kids-can-do-anything” story. But the growing lushness of the yard—beautifully portrayed in meticulously detailed, velvety acrylics—clues readers into Caroline’s burgeoning sense of belonging and accomplishment. It’s a lovely parable of suburban life. Ages 4-8. (May)