A keystone species. Jump yipping. Yep, it's a prairie dog town. This is a story that starts out sad and then thanks to some fabulous scientists and people at the Nature Conservancy who fight to protect nature all over the planet, it finds its way to a happy ending.
We begin with an enormous stretch of green and gold grasslands that covered North America from Canada to Mexico. You've probably heard of it. You know, the one where the buffalo roam and the antelope play? Turns out there was more afoot than met the eye. Seems that during the 19th century the animals and plants of the grasslands disappeared thanks to the ranching and farming that came with our westward movement. The land began to shift toward a desert environment.
Then, in the 1980s scientists discovered an area in Mexico where the grasses still waved. Turns out the huge communities of prairie dogs made a huge difference in the habitat. Seems the black ferrets were needed and so were the bison. It turned out that as always everything was connected in one grand system that worked beautifully.
What would it take to preserve the area and bring back all of the plants and animals that created the synchronicity?
If you remember the song, The Green Grass Grows All Around, you will instantly recognize the tune that carries the tale through this cleverly illustrated good news.
"There were some holes
In the middle of the ground,
The prettiest holes
That you ever did see.
And the grasses waved
All around, all around.
And the grasses waved all around.
For each verse sung to the youngest of listeners there is paired text for the older readers who are interested in finding out more detail of how human beings were able to study nature and reconstruct all the pieces that were fit together in the grand design so all parts could flourish as a whole.
Beautifully written and illustrated this one book can teach our children about the interconnectivity of our natural world and the importance of honoring all parts and protecting our natural heritage. Singing the song will give them a way to remember for a long long time.