The Shape of Betts Meadow


“One soft, fine day a doctor named Gunnar bought a meadow called Betts. The land was as dry as an old cowpie, empty of critters–even the coyote.” So beings “The Shape of Betts Meadow,” an inspiring book that tells the story of a wetlands–once lush with wildflowers and native grasses, rich with wildlife attracted to the stream that coursed through the valley. When this land was taken over for pasture, streams were rerouted and as the water left, so did the natural plants and animals. In this true story, Dr. Gunnar Holmquist, together with his mother Lavinia, purchases Betts Meadow. Gunnar sets aside stethoscope and happily sits himself behind the wheel of a dragline crane to begin a deeply satisfying job. As you’ll see in this book, one person can make a difference.


ByMeghan Nuttall Sayres
Illustrated byJoanne Friar
Millbrook Press

Series:Exceptional Science Titles for Primary Grades

ISBN-10: 0-7613-2115-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-7613-2115-6

Pages: 32
Trim Size: 10 x 8
Reading Level: 3
Interest Level: 2-4
Ages: 7-10


Praise for The Shape of Betts Meadow

“. . . While many books document the destruction of habitats, this simple text offers hope that people can make a difference. . .”
School Library Journal


“. . . simply and elegantly told, and it has an immediacy lacking in many books about the subject. . . Both the art and the text make this a pleasant change of pace on the subject.”


National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) / Children’s Book Council (CBC) Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12

A John Burroughs Nature Book For Young Readers 2002


Creating the Book


Pictured below are some sketches from the design process by Joanne Friar.

Slide Show of Bett’s Meadow Restoration

Click to Learn more about the book, the author, and the owner of Bett’s Meadow and more.