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Where Fish Go in Winter: And Other Great Mysteries (Easy-to-Read, Dial) Hardcover – September 16, 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3-In 14 poems of 3 to 7 quatrains, Koss attempts simple explanations of natural phenomena ("Why do leaves change colors?"; "How do cats purr?"; "How do birds fly?"; "What is the Man in the Moon?"). While the questions will hold appeal for newly independent readers, the author's emphasis on end rhyme often pulls attention away from the poem's content and results in a cursory explanation rather than the sort of detailed description that would satisfy a young audience. Some of the vocabulary is too sophisticated for the intended age group. ("Gravity sensors/Within each young root/Teach it to follow/A straight downward route.") Attractive, brightly colored two-page paintings show the subject of the poem in its natural setting. Oddly, all of the people, animals, plants, and natural objects inside are softly detailed realistic/impressionist, but the pictures for the fish featured on the cover and in the title poem are cartoons. While a few of the poems do work, most lack both informational and poetic quality.
Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. It's hard to explain such things as how a cat purrs and why onions make people cry in straightforward easy-reader language, but Koss manages to pull it off--in rhyme. And not just singsongy doggerel (although there is a rather repetitious rhyme scheme). The text does quite well at painting vivid word pictures: "Their belly muscles flutter / When people pet their coats. / The flutters send small puffs of air / Up to the kitties' throats." Other topics covered include why popcorn pops, why spiders stick to their own webs, and why islands float. The richly colored illustrations are very nice; no slapdash quality to the art here. This entry in the Dial Easy-to-Read series will be fun to read alone and will work well in the classroom. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Series: Easy-to-Read, Dial
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (September 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803727046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803727045
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,907,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I will pretty much read anything by Amy Goldman Koss. I love her voice.
This book, written in rhyme, has information in on many of those vexing questions that kids ask you just before bed when your brain is on hold. I loved it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this for a friend after receiving it as a gift for my son. Great for a wide variety of ages! 12m old likes the pictures (it is regular paper though, so he only gets this one under supervision). 3-5 year olds like learning about curious scientific questions (and so do I!). Highly recommend!
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Format: Paperback
Each of Amy Koss's poems quickly catches the young reader's attention: Would clouds feel fluffy,/ Soft and grand,/ If I could touch them/ With my hand? Her "emphasis on end rhyme" provides the kind of gentle draw into poetry that children need. My children clearly grasp each poem's content, asking to hear one or another at bedtime.

Koss does not "attempt" explanations she nails them. "They're made of tiny water drops,/ So light they float/ above rooftops..." is not a "cursory explanation" but "the sort of detailed description that would satisfy a young audience" of five to nine year olds.

My five year old daughter joins our dog in his bed and reads these poems to him. She enjoys the pictures that complement the same quiet interest the poems generate. I do not expect she will get into any Esthetic Analysis of Bryant's illustrations, it only matters that they catch her attention and work with each poem, and they do.

Some words my daughter does not understand, and unbeknownst to some professionals, parents can anticipate questions, and kids can just ask. Terms like "gravity" and "sensor" give parents a chance to offer ostensive explanations: "Gravity is what makes that book fall; it pulls the book and the ground together." "Your hand is like a gravity sensor because it can tell which way the book pulls, much like a root does."

Amy Koss shows children that both facts and poetry can be fun. She does not stoop to impart knowledge by disguising it with nonsense, as so many children's book authors do. Get this book, and you will surely enjoy more time with your brightening child.
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By P. D. on January 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
This little gem tackles some of the great childhood science questions. The simple rhyme scheme makes the information friendlier and more accessible - yet the book never talks down to the kids.
One of the professional reviews complained that this book had vocabulary that was "too sophisticated" for young children. I was annoyed by this. If you dumb everything down to what kids already know, then where will they learn new terms?
My 5-year-old enjoyed reading this book, and I enjoyed listening to her. I found the book charming and informative. For example, I didn't know that when fish are waiting out the winter, "Except for occasional / lake bottom treats / the whole winter long / the fish hardly eats!"
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