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Among the Meadow People Review by Melissa Theberge

By Clara Dillingham Pierson
Yesterday's Classics
PO Box 3418
Chapel Hill, NC 27515

If your child is enchanted by the creatures that live outdoors and enjoys imagining what their life might be like, this book is a must-read. The enchanting mix of the whimsical and fanciful with the factual and scientific is simply delicious reading for children.

The Meadow People are a personified animal community that interacts, responds, communicates, and essentially teaches. As they work through their daily life, their conversations teach the reader about what life is like as a robin, snail, beetle, cicada, frog, earthworm, mosquito, katydid, or other meadow inhabitant. The stories also teach about being thoughtful, humble, brave, helpful, and other lessons of character that the Meadow People learn.

This book is a lovely unabridged reproduction of an original work first published in 1901. The 28 stories of life in the meadow are written for ages five to seven. Each story, just three to six pages in length invite the reader to glimpse into the creature's life for a moment. The Meadow People is one in a set of four books of a similar theme including Forest, Pond, and Night, all of which our family would now like to read.

The author, Clara Dillingham Pierson, was a kindergarten teacher in Montana during the late 19th to early 20th century. She wrote these tales primarily for her own kindergarten class. It is not surprising that her students enjoyed the stories immensely, and even 100 years later the idea of a brave robin, a humbled walking stick, and an understanding mosquito are engaging to the young reader.

With all three children in our home age ten and under, we found these stories delightful, and they have changed the way we think about the passing mosquito, the birds who visit our feeder, and even the frogs we hear at night in a nearby pond. It's quite fun to imagine them all interacting and learning from each other, and this is certainly an enjoyable read for any young family.

Product review by Melissa Theberge, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2009