A River Ran Wild

by Cherry, Lynne. (Harcourt, 1992 ISBN 0 152 00542 0) Picture Book. 32. pages. Grades 2+.
This book was reviewed by Carol Otis Hurst in Teaching K-8 Magazine.


This is a beautifully done biography of a river. By focusing on the life in and around the Nashua River, Cherry brings history, ecology and progress into view. The illustrations alone are a history book.

We start with the pristine river surrounded by woods and, around the text page facing that illustration, we see the birds and animals that once lived in and around the Nashua. The first humans arrive and find and use the bounty of the river. Soon a Native American settlement can be seen there. Later the first Europeans arrive and the first small farm with a small Waterloo is seen. As the farm turns to city, the mill grows larger.

At each stage, items taken from the river or made by its power are isolated and placed around the text. When we look at the river at this stage, it is a polluted mess and the campaign starts to clean it up. At the end of the book there is fishing on the river again but, realistically, it doesn't get back to its original pristine state.


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