Michael J. Caduto
Illustrated by Olga Pastuchiv
Hardcover, $16.95, ISBN 978-0-88448-327-4
9 x 10, 32 pages, color illustrations
Green Earth Book Award Honor Book, Picture Books
"When Jason, Mark, and friends cannonball into their favorite swimming hole, they find themselves covered in green slime and smelling like a cow pasture. Tracking the source of the fun-ruining gunk up the river, they find the motherly Riparia, who schools the kids in protecting river habitats, then vanishes, leaving the kids to talk to a local farmer about his environmentally unfriendly ways. Riparia's River is a tactful and enjoyable introduction to environmental problems for young children with a budding interest in wildlife. Caduto, a biologist and storyteller, writes about pressing ecological issues in a kid-friendly way, while Pastuchiv's enchanting pastels set the scene beautifully."
—Sierra Club's The Green Life
"Riparia's River is an eco-tale for children that teaches both the cause and the creation of solutions for non-point pollution of flowing water streams and rivers. Filled with lush, sun-splashed watercolor paintings of river and riverside habitat and the birds, insects, and plants that shelter there, Riparia's River is a beautiful teaching fable for children in elementary grades 3-6. A group of friends discovers their favorite swimming spot on the river is polluted, and harmful to the fish and animals that live in it. They are taught by a lady naturalist named Riparia what can be done to clean and repair the riverbanks and restore clean river habitat. The children cooperate and work with a will, inviting others to help when their replanting of riverside plants project grows. Riparia's River is a wonderful, empowering story for children who will inherit tomorrow the rivers, habitat, and creatures of today's ongoing stewardship. A nice community spirit message is embedded in the illustrations' use of multiracial profiles for all the children, conveying the added idea that cleaning up our rivers and habitat is a global concern."
—Midwest Book Review
"In an environmental story that's part cautionary tale, part call to action, Caduto (the Keepers of the Earth series) introduces four children who are puzzled when they discover their river swimming hole is filled with 'green stuff' and 'smells like a sewer.' Walking upstream, they encounter Riparia, a wise woman who tells them her name means 'of the riverbank,' and cautions them not to swim, since the river 'isn't well.' She delivers an accessible ecology lesson, pointing out birches that shade the water to keep its temperature cool enough so fish and insects can thrive. However, she also reveals that chemicals and manure from a farmer's fields are polluting the water. When Riparia proffers a solution to protect the water, the kids galvanize the community to take action. . . ."
"A veteran environmental activist, Caduto presents a fictionalized case study in which four children, disgusted at the condition of their favorite pool, follow a mysterious woman named Riparia ('My name means "of the riverbank,"' she explains) upstream to discover the pollution's causes. Runoff from a fertilized cornfield that goes right up to the river's bank is one, and cow manure is the other—the barbed-wire fence allows a herd of cows to wade into the river, where they do their business. Following Riparia's suggestions, the children persuade the farmer to let them move the field and fences back to set up a buffer zone, then enlist friends and neighbors to plant trees and wildflowers. Cut to two years later, and the pool is clean once again. . . ."
"In their journey up Riparia's River, author Michael J. Caduto and illustrator Olga Pastuchiv tell an inspiring tale about the nature of rivers and sources of pollution and how if 'we do what Riparia says, we can help things grow back along the riverbank and make the water clean again.'"
—E–The Environmental Magazine
"This picture book for elementary-age kids combines an environmental message with an example of youth leadership and initiative. The illustrations by Olga Pastuchiv are beautiful, and at the end is a list of animals that can be found in the pictures throughout the book. The author, Michael Caduto, is an ecologist and storyteller. I highly recommend this charming and educational book."
—Gender Equality Bookstore
"The spirit of rivers comes alive—literally—in Michael J. Caduto's charming new children's book, Riparia's River. By gently teaching a small group of children about river systems and habitats, Riparia empowers the children to lead a community effort to restore an ecosystem badly out of balance. The combination of education, empowerment and action make the book ideal for inspiring readers to care about all water resources."
—Dennis L. Nelson, President and CEO of the Project WET Foundation
"A fairy tale about water and a lesson on how kids can help clean up their streams and ponds—long live Riparia!"
—Alice Outwater, author of Water: A Natural History
"This story will resonate with everyone who splashed in a stream as a child. Reading it, I was transported back to the warm, lazy days of summer chasing frogs and butterflies—and wondering what all the 'green stuff' was growing in the water. Riparia embodies the spirit of people everywhere who care about streams, wildlife, and clean water."
—Paul T. Zeph, Former President, North American Association for Environmental Education
When Gretchen, Jason, Mark, and Daphne find their favorite swimming hole filled with green slime, they are horrified. A mysterious, almost magical naturalist named Riparia helps the children understand why the water became polluted—and together they figure out what they can do to bring clean water back to the river they all love.
This lively story about non-point source pollution is filled with both information and action. Realistic, lush illustrations by Olga Pastuchiv illuminate the children's passion for their river and the ecosystem it supports.
Michael J. Caduto is an author, ecologist, storyteller, and musician who presents programs and performances to children of all ages around the world. In addition to being possibly the only environmentalist who has ever used CPR to save a chipmunk's life, he is well known as the creator and co-author of the international best-selling Keepers of the Earth® series, Native American Gardening and Pond and Brook: A Guide to Nature in Freshwater Environments. He also wrote Earth Tales from Around the World, The Crimson Elf, In the Beginning, and A Child of God. His many awards include the Aesop Prize, NAPPA Gold and Silver Awards, Brimstone Award (National Storytelling Network), and a Storytelling World Honor Award. Michael's articles have appeared in many magazines, including Cricket, Ranger Rick's NatureScope, Green Teacher, Instructor, Rodale's Organic Gardening, Vermont Life, Sanctuary and Nature Study. In 1984 Michael founded a service called P.E.A.C.E.® — Programs for Environmental Awareness & Cultural Exchange. P.E.A.C.E.® promotes understanding, awareness, appreciation and stewardship as the foundation for building a harmonious, sustainable relationship between people and Earth, and among the cultures of the world. His website is www.p-e-a-c-e.net
Olga Pastuchiv is a children's book author, painter, and commercial illustrator. Whether working on a fishing boat in Greece or as a landscape gardener in New England, Olga is always painting. She paints things large and small, from murals and parade floats to illustrations for several poetry and botany collections and a cookbook. Her picture book Minas and the Fish is about a fisherman's boy she met on Karpathos Island. Olga lives in Maine with two cats, one the remarkable therapy cat Uruk, who helps sick and older people, shown here visiting a local friend.
Tilbury House, Publishers
103 Brunswick Avenue
Gardiner, Maine 04345
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