From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6–This thoroughly researched book introduces a vernal pool in the woods of Delaware and documents the ecology of this unique habitat during the cycle of a year. Beginning with autumn, clear, detailed chapters focus on each season, describing physical changes to the pond (from dry, to wet, to ice-covered, to wet again), the creatures that breed and live there (including many types of insects and amphibians), and plant life. Throughout, Wechsler highlights the ways in which various species are interrelated and their role in the food web. The last section discusses the importance of these pools and how to prevent them from being destroyed. The full-color photographs vividly bring this environment to life by combining images of the changing pond with close-up pictures of its varied inhabitants. –Christine Markley, Washington Elementary School, Barto, PA
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*Starred Review* This handsome book looks closely at a vernal pool: a forest pool that dries up at the end of each summer and gradually fills with water again during the fall, winter, and spring. Naturalist-photographer Wechsler offers a close-up view of a vernal pool in Delaware as it cycles through a year. Focusing on one animal after another, he shows not only the variety of life supported by the pool but also the complex, interconnected ecosystem that depends not just on the pool but upon the fact that it dries up annually. This cycle limits the animals the pool can support and creates an environment where certain species thrive, unthreatened by fish or by the year-round presence of certain other predators. Each of the first four chapters considers a season and the changes it brings to the pool and inhabitants, while the final chapter discusses the preservation of vernal pools. From a close-up of salamanders in their jelly-covered eggs to a composite picture with superimposed lines showing the pool's food web, Wechsler's clear, color photos provide an excellent visual counterpoint to the text. This well-focused book will open readers' eyes to an ecological feature they may have seen without recognizing.The book concludes with a glossary and a list of recommended books and Web sites. Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved