Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner, art by Christopher Silas Neal

Just in time for spring and especially for Earth Day, Kate Messner gives her young readers Over and Under the Pond, a beautiful companion to her previous books Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt.

As a curious young boy and his mother paddle around a pond in their rowboat, he asks his mother what's under the water's surface. His mother tells him there's a secret world underneath their boat, a world of minnows, crayfish, turtles, bullfrogs, and tadpoles slowly growing into frogs, learning how to hop on newly developed legs.
There's even a beaver diving down into the depths of the pond for some yummy roots to eat,

And there is just a much going on out the water and around the edge of the pond - a goldfinch getting ready for its first flight, a moose munching on water lilies, ospreys flying overhead, and raccoons scrounging up some supper.

The pond is teeming with life above and below, all there for anyone who takes the time to quietly observe it. Its abundance of plants and animals form an important ecosystem. As Messner explains in her Author's Note, sometimes this ecosystem is threatened by pollution or the loss of habitat. It's important to maintain these ponds so that the cycle of life can continue.

Besides her Author's Note, Messner includes additional information about all the creatures that depend on the pond, from the smallest caddisfly larvae to that big old moose and the role each one plays in nature. There is a lot to be learned in this book and an ideal reference for anyone who might want to make their own explorations.

Christopher Silas Neal's mixed-media illustrations are the perfect compliment to Messner's lyrical text. A palette of muted, gently blended watery blues, springy greens and browns all add to the feeling of the interconnectedness of nature. Neal has chosen to present the pond and the area surrounding it from various points of view: my favorite is the bird's eye view looking down, or maybe it's the fish eye view looking up, or maybe it's just all of them.

Over and Under the Pond is an ideal book for young readers curious about the world they live in, for lover's of nature, protector's of the environment and everyone else. It is a book kids can return to again and again.

This book is recommended for readers age 4+
This book was sent to me by the publisher, Chronicle Books

 April 22, 2017 is Earth Day

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