cover image Creekfinding: A True Story

Creekfinding: A True Story

Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illus. by Claudia McGehee. Univ. of Minnesota, $16.95 (36p) ISBN 978-0-8166-9802-8

Elaborate scratchboard etchings and a lyrical narrative tell of a creek’s rebirth in northeastern Iowa. Filled with dirt to make way for farmland long ago, Brook Creek flows once again thanks to the efforts of scientist Michael Osterholm and his friends to restore a prairie ecosystem on his land. The story springs to life through Martin’s (Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious) buoyant, personified language: “The excavator had found the old stream./ Would water fill the path?/ Mike said the water remembered./ It seeped in from the sides... burbled into holes, filled the creek.” McGehee’s (North Woods Girl) vibrant, stylized illustrations show nearly smiling fish, birds, and insects populating their new habitat. From excavation to riparian planting to fish stocking, the reclamation steps appear as section headings (“Scraping and Digging,” “Time for Trout”) and additional facts swirl, ribbonlike, through scenes in a tiny typeface. This hopeful tale ends with author and illustrator notes, as well as encouraging words from Osterholm: “We can restore parts of our world that have been lost or degraded,” he writes. “We can change the world by acting on our dreams.” Ages 4–up. (Mar.)