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OVER IN THE WETLANDS by Caroline Starr Rose


A Hurricane-on-the-Bayou Story

by Caroline Starr Rose ; illustrated by Rob Dunlavey

Pub Date: July 14th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-449-81016-3
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Like the animals that live there, Louisiana wetlands can survive even a hurricane.

This lyrical text uses interesting imagery, informal rhyme, and an insistent rhythm to describe the world of the bayou and the wonder of a storm. Though it opens with a peaceful scene, readers and listeners are gently warned: “a faint breeze hints that a storm draws near.” Crabs scuttle, pelicans scoop, spoonbills stalk, and egrets flock. An alligator takes her babies into her den—carrying some in her mouth. Colors darken as waves and clouds move in. At the height of the storm, these double-page spreads become almost black; trees and swamp waters are barely visible. The hurricane is scary: “Pounding, / wailing, / hours endless. / Blasting, / breaking, / storm’s relentless.” But wetlands are resilient; these recover quickly. A black bear and her cubs appear; the alligator and her babies return. The story closes on a quiet note, with a warm sunset followed by a moonlit night. Even the dragonfly that opened the narrative has survived. An afterword reiterates the importance of coastal wetlands and offers further information about the animals described. Dunlavey’s impressionistic illustrations, done with watercolor, ink, pencil, paint, collage, and digital manipulation, are reasonably accurate but still full of mystery.

A reassuring portrayal of a remarkable event in an equally remarkable natural world.

(Informational picture book. 3-7)