Book, Nature & Science, Social Issues, Work


By: George Ancona
Publisher: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1990
Age Level: 8-12 years
Language: English
ISBN: 0027009114


John Cronin, an environmentalist, patrols the 315 miles of New York’s Hudson River on board the Riverkeeper, a 25-ft. shallow-drafted boat. Hired by concerned private citizens, John keeps watch for polluters and helps bring citizen lawsuits, lobbies with government officials for better laws and stricter enforcement, and educates the public about the need to protect the environment.

Crisp B&W photos and the lively text tell the inspiring story of a man who has made his career protecting the environment. Cronin notes that “Pollution is a universal problem. But only if we take care of our own backyard can we go to our neighbors and ask them to take care of the tropical rain forest. So I believe we can change the world right here on the Hudson River.” An excellent choice for those interested in the environment or in careers for the next century.




Riverkeeper is the name of a small powerboat used by John Cronin, riverkeeper of the Hudson River, as he singlehandedly goes about the task of protecting the quality of the river. Most of his work involves trying to get government agencies to enforce the laws against polluters. He also pressures lawmakers to pass new laws that protect the water and its wildlife. This brief, readable account describes Cronin’s battles with polluters–factory owners, shipping lines, power companies, local government agencies, as well as thoughtless individuals. It also tells about positive educational efforts and successful projects that have been undertaken to improve the quality of the Hudson River. The well-written, simply phrased text is handsomely illustrated with abundant black-and-white photographs. It should be a great read-aloud book.
–School Library Journal