Prairie Dog Song

By Booklist

The team behind Parrots over Puerto Rico (2013) have returned with a conservation tale about the prairie dogs of North America. Two narratives tell the story. One, a song to the tune of “And the Green Grass Grows All Around,” sets the scene: prairie dogs, burrowing owls, black-footed ferrets, bison, and nineteenth-century farmers. It also emphasizes the cumulative dependency of each piece of the ecosystem. The second describes the history of the North American grasslands: the balance of the wildlife, eventual decimation due to aggressive farming practices and culling of prairie dogs, and the steps that were taken since the 1990s to rebuild the ecosystem in Janos, Mexico. The mixed-media collages are in a palette of grassland browns and sunset oranges, expansively spread across the pages. The supplemental materials, which include music for the song, prairie dog facts, a time line, and an extensive list of sources, are illustrated with color photos. A combination of simple verse and detailed context makes this well suited for children of various reading levels.