The Prairie that Nature Built

Written by Marybeth Lorbiecki
Illustrated by Cathy Morrison

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The inner workings of the wild prairie are on display in this engaging picture book. Written as a cumulative poem, it’s a celebration of a unique habitat.


This is the prairie that nature built.
These are the critters
That worm and squirm
Alive in the dirt so dark and thick
Under the prairie that nature built.


Young readers will gaze upon prairie dogs, ferrets, and snakes hiding safely in their burrows. They’ll see plant roots stretching deep underground to hold water long after the rains have gone. And they’ll learn how flowers, insects, birds and various mammals intermingle and benefit from each other. But on the prairie, there are dangers, too. Lightning can spark a fire, setting the ground ablaze and chasing the animals away. A pounding rain quenches the fire, leaving the blackened reeds to mix with the soil. Months later, from out from the ashes a green shoot sprouts upward. Life renewed once again.


Lorbiecki’s use of rhyme, cumulative verse, and repetition will enhance the literacy skills of young readers. Dramatic text and images capture the beauty and vulnerability of this disappearing habitat. Morrison’s artwork is full of fine detail, which allows third graders to find something new with each reading. Back matter includes in-depth information on prairies, vocabulary and terminology, reading activities and additional resources. This book is also available as an interactive book app.


  • PrairieTitle: The Prairie that Nature Built
  • Author: Marybeth Lorbiecki
  • Illustrator: Cathy Morrison
  • Publisher: Dawn Publications, 2014
  • Reviewer: Lauren Abbey Greenberg
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-58469-491-5
  • Genre: Picture Book / Creative Nonfiction / Science / Nature
  • Publication Date: September 1, 2014

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