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2011 March 3

Hey there, RAT CHATTERS!

It was great to get away, do some beach reading and grab some rays, (Stan did get a little pink), but it’s nice to be back in our RAT CHAT studios. Particularly nice to be chatting about the new – and already multi-starred book – by Thomas F. Yezerski called, MEADOWLANDS, ‘A Wetlands Survival Story’, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Mr. Yezerski shared a tasty tidbit of info on how and why he was inspired to write this wonderful book on urban environmental recovery: Says Mr. Yezerski, that when he first moved to New Jersey from Pennsylvania, he was a bit unprepared for all the busy and confusing highways. (Hey, just try scooting the turnpike and dodging Hondas.) He confessed to both Stanley and me that he got lost in the Meadowlands on more than one occasion. One time, he took a wrong turn and suddenly found himself surrounded by abandoned factories, warehouses and waste. (We know the feeling.) He says it took him over an hour to find his way out and back to a highway.

However, the curious writer and illustrator, returned to explore the empty factories, abandoned railways, and other forgotten places under the turnpike. “I even canoed creeks where I couldn’t see over the tall reeds.” He says that after all his research, he probably now knows the Meadowlands as well as Stanley and I do!  I bet he does too!  Sometimes, said Mr. Yezerski with a laugh, “You write about what you don’t know.”

Well, this is an author and illustrator that indeed knows his subject well now!  And so will everyone who reads this very fine book, thanks to him! Stan and I noticed that the book jacket recommends the audience as 5-8, but frankly, we think this is a book for all ages, and one that should not be missed!  As noted in School Library Journal, you don’t have to be from Jersey or familiar with the area to embrace the idea of protecting plant and animal life in an urban environment.

So now, kick off your shoes, put up your feet, get a cup of your favorite Caffe Latte or Espresso Macchiato, and take a few minutes to enjoy our CHAT about the comeback story of the urban wetlands known as the MEADOWLANDS. Get comfy and we’ll see you on the other side.

We are delighted to be giving away an autographed copy of MEADOWLANDS ‘A WETLAND SURVIVAL STORY’! All you have to do to be in the running, is leave a comment! The always ‘above board’ and blindfolded Stanley, will be picking the lucky winner at the end of the month.

The talented Tom Yezerski, a graduate of Syracuse University, is the illustrator of many wonderful books for young readers including: MRS. MUDDLE’S HOLIDAYS by Laura F. Nielsen; THE WINNER’S WALK by Nancy Ruth Patterson; and the ROSE AND RILEY series written by Jane Cutler;

He tells us that he is presently working on a new project called PINCH AND DASH MAKE SOUP, written by Michael J. Daley, who also knows a thing or two about rats. Have to say, as major soup lovers, (how much do we like cream of broccoli with cheddar cheese?), Stan and I will be looking out for this one!  Looks like the makings of a good series (and a tasty recipe), with two delightful characters.  Here is a sketch of Pinch and Dash, that Tom was delighted to share with all of our ‘chatters‘:

For a companion read to Mr. Yezerski’s New Jersey’s, MEADOWLANDS, check out Lynn Cherry‘s, A RIVER RAN WILD, about the ecological evolution of New England’s Nashua River and FIELDS OF SUN AND GRASS: An Artist’s Journal of the New Jersey Meadowlands, by John R. Quinn. For more information on the New Jersey Meadowlands, check out: Hackensack Riverkeeper, Meadowlands Environment Center, and New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.

Well, that’s it from us for now, CHATTERS! But don’t forget to join Stanley and me next time when we chat about another tasty book – on RAT CHAT!

16 Responses leave one →
  1. Judy H. permalink
    March 3, 2011

    Conservation and wildlife are very important to me (I just participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count). MEADOWLANDS looks like a terrific book about an important subject. :)

  2. Denise Vazzano permalink
    March 4, 2011

    Your Aunt Tillie was wonderful.

  3. Sandy B. permalink
    March 4, 2011

    Well, since my comment on this book slid over to the review on Dan’s books, I’ll repeat it here. I just want it on the record that mistakes like that couldn’t possibly be due to my own ineptitude…

    Really enjoyed Aunt Tilly’s take on The Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story. I’ll wait to run out and buy it until I see how my luck serves me in the drawing for the autographed copy of the book. It’s going right onto my recommendation list of PB with links at many levels for classroom use, starting with a comparison to Lynne Cherry’s A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History. (HBJ, 1992).

  4. March 4, 2011

    A wonderful review, and the illustrations and text of the book are fabulous! I always wondered about those meadowlands when I passed them by train or bus. Now I know! I can’t wait to go out and buy the book! Thank you, Stanley and Morris.

  5. Mrs. Healy permalink
    March 5, 2011

    Our fourth graders take a trip to the Meadowlands Environmental Center every year. This would be a wonderful book to have for them in the media center. Randall Carter is crossing our fingers for an autographed copy. I loved the review by Stanley and Morris and of course Aunt Tilly.

  6. March 5, 2011

    The Jersey Girls over at BookBlogFun are so excited to see the newest show by Stanley and Morris. What a hard working, intelligent man that Mr.Yezerski is by teaching all of us about the Meadowlands. I have to admit that even though I was born and raised about an hour from that NJ area, all I can tell you about it is that we went there to see concerts and sporting events at The Meadowlands Sports Complex. So nice to find out what the Meadowlands really are!!

    Looking at the other characters that Mr. Yezerski has worked on, Rose and Riley look like a lot of fun. Is that the Jersey Shore where they are searching for shells? That’s the area we are more familiar with.

    Thank you Stanley and Morris for bringing these wonderful books to life.

    ~ Lauri Chandler

  7. Dana permalink
    March 6, 2011

    Great review. Interesting to learn about the research that went into this book— even canoeing! Wow. Looks like a wonderful book.

  8. March 6, 2011

    My first Rat Chat Review! Love it, love it, love it!
    Who knew there was an Ebert and Roeper of children’s literature.
    Can’t wait for the next one.

  9. March 7, 2011

    You did it again, Stanley & Morris! Thanks so much for your literary prowess.

    Meadowlands looks amazing. :)

  10. Mrs. Tosi permalink
    March 11, 2011

    I’m one of the fourth grade teachers that goes to the Meadowlands Environmental Center every year. I am so excited to have a book that actually addresses the location we visit! We also read A River Ran Wild by Lynn Cherry. This would be an amazing compliment to our curriculum. Kudos to Mr. Yezerski!

  11. March 11, 2011

    Stanley and Morris, you are the best! Thanks for your top-notch field work and presenting my book in an interesting and hilarious way. Can’t wait to see which book comes to your big screen next. Your muskrat cousins in the saltmarsh hope to see you “down the shore” this summer. Hi to Aunt Tilly.

    • March 11, 2011

      Thanks so much, Mr. Y. And we will definitely be seeing our cousins down the Jersey Shore this season!
      (Morris is quite the ‘situation’ down there.)
      Aunt Tilly gives you her best.

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