California Authors


Written & Illustrated by Diane Iverson, Available at Shipley Nature Center,

Book Review By C. MacDonald

HUNTINGTON BEACH: "The Mystery of Blackbird Pond" illustrates both a problem and solution. You see, Blackbird Pond is a real place, part of the magnificent, volunteer-run, Shipley Nature Center, an 18-acre wonderland in Central Park. Some of Shipley's friends contributed excellent sidebars on the animals and trees at the pond. For the past couple years, up until recent rains, Blackbird Pond shrunk to the point that it became virtually dry, causing cottontails to wither, fewer insects, not as many flowers and some birds to search elsewhere for their homes.

Diane Iverson, who has been involved in the creation of 16 other books, superbly explains the dilemma through her beautiful drawings and understandable words. She very simply shows what a vanishing pond means to the birds, animals and vegetation there. She gets your attention and gets you to start thinking about what's happening and why, and what we can do to help the situation. What's been happening in Blackbird Pond has been happening many other places, demanding our attention as we figure how to help, what seems to be a dryer planet, with less resources.

We all need to take much better care of our local environment and our planet. We should use only what we really need. And if we take good care of our pond and our planet, we might be able to help bring back some of the things that have gone. This book shows to help the water crisis, we can do things like turning off the faucet while brushing teeth; sweeping, instead of washing off sidewalks; taking shorter showers, and always washing a full load of clothes. Seems pretty simple, doesn't it? We all can do it if we just use common sense. The Earth's resources are limited and diminishing and everyone of us needs to do what we can to protect it, not only for our families but for future generations. "The Mystery of Blackbird Pond" is a wakeup call. It's a reminder that it might not be too late, that we still can make a difference. But we need to start doing it now!

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