From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3—This straightforward depiction of the food chain focuses on a pond near the house of a little girl named Anna. The poetic text builds in a "This Is the House That Jack Built" fashion, starting with "the deep, still water" and then introducing "the jade green algae," "the mayfly nymph," "the diving beetle," "the loud bullfrog," and so on up the chain. In the early pages, death is quick and no-nonsense: fly, beetle, frog, and snake are easily devoured by larger predators. Once the furry animals appear, however, the author is more circumspect; the owl merely dives for the skunk, and the coyote stalks the raccoon. Above it all, Anna hears the howl of a coyote and looks out her window, subtly reinforcing humanity's place at the top of the hierarchy. Vitale's rich, colorful oil-on-wood illustrations are as poetic as the text in their depiction of the natural world. An appended "facts to pond-er" section offers more information about the animals included. A clear, child-friendly look at ecology, this book is destined to find a home in storytimes and classrooms.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
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About the Author
Betsy Franco has spent more than twenty years showing children the beauty, depth, and fun of math and science through her picture books. She lives with her husband in Palo Alto, California. Visit her website at betsyfranco.com.
Stefano Vitale is the illustrator of several books for children, including the New York Times bestseller Why War Is Never a Good Idea by Alice Walker. Stefano lives with his wife and children in Venice, Italy. Please visit his website at stefanovitale.com.