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Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems (Caldecott Honor Book, BCCB Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award) Hardcover – April 4, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 5-Seasons set the stage for this celebration of the diverse life of ponds. The book begins with the poem, "Listen for Me," in which spring peepers wake from their winter hibernation and sing out, "Listen for me on a spring night,/on a wet night,/on a rainy night./…Listen for me tonight, tonight,/and I'll sing you to sleep." The melodic verse continues through summer with a cumulative poem that highlights the food chain of a pond, cattails in all seasons, and late fall when a painted turtle settles into the mud. Sidman employs several poetic forms, such as haiku and rhymed and unrhymed verse, and varied line structure, and her arrangement of the 11 poems is natural and exact. Each one is accompanied by a paragraph that provides scientific information about a specific creature, plant, or aspect of pond life. Prange's woodcuts are a natural accompaniment to these poetic compositions. The dark lines naturally contrast against watercolor hues that reflect the changing seasons. Beginning with subtle pastel shades of spring, tones gradually deepen through the lush colors of midsummer and conclude with subdued earthy browns and violet sunsets of early winter. Perspectives in illustrations shift from one poem to another, providing a unique depiction of the life below the water, on shore level, and in the surrounding reeds and trees. An organic union of poetry and science, this book encourages readers to ponder the minutiae and magnificent life of the natural world.-Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI
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*Starred Review* Gr. 3-5. In this strikingly illustrated collection, science facts combine with vivid poems about pond life through the seasons. Focusing on one pond creature or plant per spread, Sidman employs many poetic forms, including austere haikus and rollicking sea shanties, and her fine selections are both accessible and sophisticated. Younger children may need help with the science allusions, although accompanying prose paragraphs will give some background; many poems integrate the science beautifully, particularly a marching, cumulative selection about the pond web of life. Some poems burst with sweet, joyful noise, such as the sounds of a duck family's first spring swim: "Peek, peek, / water sparkling! / Deep breath, / leaping, leaping. / Splash down." Others bring haunting immediacy to abstract concepts such as hibernation: "No more bugs / and basking. Last breath, last sight / of light and down I go, into the mud," says a turtle. Throughout, plants and animals come alive in the bold woodcut prints, reminiscent of Mary Azarian's work, which are hand-colored in watery blues and lily-pad green. A glossary of science terms closes this elegant, inspiring volume, which teachers will use across the curriculum. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
"Song of the Water Boatman" is given its wider readership just as psychologists are announcing concerns about "nature-deprived" children." Blessed be all educators who use this book to plan units & field trips that open eyes and hearts to the natural world so greatly in need of future protectors.
Joyce Sidman packs as much information per square inch as there are microorganisms in the drop of water showing off the "water bear," or "tardigrada." There are favorite segments on every page. In southern Indiana we already are being 'lullabied' by Spring Peepers, grateful for our woods and pond setting. Children are responding with glee to the repetitious "In the Depths of the Summer Pond" - - a musical chant in a four-page spread with 'lessons' about survival and the food chain. Not as beautiful as the dragon fly, the remarkable metamorphosis of the caddis fly, described as a "fashion story" of transformation, will nonetheless fascinate all. Other revelations include the water boatman, and its not-quite-mirror-image, the back swimmer which always swims on its back; both carrying their own bubbles of air with them.
This reviewer will never venture out-of-doors again without more finely tuning my senses to these wonders. We will definitely be exploring our creek with increased enthusiasm. Reviewer mcHAIKU urges that we not allow "nature-deficit" to creep into our souls, and allow our minds to limit periods of hibernation! LET'S THRIVE ON LIVING & LEARNING !
Can't wait to read this a million times to my grandchildren.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am currently training to be a watershed steward in my community. This book is going to be perfect to share with children and adults. Read morePublished 7 months ago by W. Seifert
Another brilliant book by Joyce Sidman, I use these in Summer camps at my local nature center. They are a big hit. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Jamie Vann
A gorgeous book, so beautifully well-cone, purchased to introduce the children to our new pond, and all the life in it!Published on August 10, 2014 by LMR