Monday, March 5, 2018

Over and under the pond by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Another gorgeous nature picture book from Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal.

A dark-skinned mother and child float on a pond in a small boat. They look down from above and see turtles, fish, and other creatures from below. Birds fly over the pond, larva build homes under it. Moose eat above the pond, beavers dive deep into the pond. As the day turns to night, the light fades and different creatures come out to float above - and below - the pond.

An author's note addresses the ecosystem of the pond. There is also a picture glossary that adds information about each of the animals pictured. A few resources are included for further reading.

This book has the most dazzling perspectives, showing what the humans' boat might look like from below, the contrast between a turtle swimming through the water and a turtle sunning on a log, the slow changes as the daylight fades to evening and night.

I especially appreciated seeing more diversity in books about nature - too often children with darker skin are shown only in urban settings. I've also successfully used this series with children who are struggling with the concepts of "above" and "below".

Verdict: A worthy addition to the series, strongly recommended for use in storytime and nature programs or just for encouraging children and families to explore their world.

ISBN: 9781452145426; Published 2017 by Chronicle; Purchased for the library

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