Friday, May 27, 2022

Spend a Day at a Pond

At the Pond     
by David Elliott; illus. by Amy Schimler-Safford 
40 pages; ages 3-7
Candlewick, 2022

theme: nature, water, animals

The red-winged blackbird spreads his tail and sings his hello morning song…

This book is like a day-long field trip to a pond. Each spread features an animal, or a plant, described in a poem. We meet a family of mallards, a legendary catfish, turtles, and a busy beaver. There are also two insects that most kids will enjoy looking for on their pond visits: dragonflies and water striders. Each poem reveals a bit of the daily life of pond dwellers.

What I like about this book: I admit a bias toward insect poems, but also anything frog. So I truly loved the very short poem about metamorphosis from tadpole to adult. Told in seven words! Also, the fun play on words in the heron poem. And I love how the book ends with the evening song of the blackbird.

I also love the illustrations. The artwork is multimedia, finished digitally, but they are so full of texture I can almost feel the feathers and cattail fluff. And then there is Back Matter! Even the notes about the animals and plants in the book are fun to read. Take his entry on cattails. Most kids think cattails look like hot dogs (they do!) but that hot dog head, writes David, “is a collection of tiny female flowers. Not very tasty, I’m afraid.” Fun, right?

Beyond the Books:

Go on a pond field trip. Look, and listen, and smell the air, and feel the ground beneath your feet. You can do this any time of the year. I visited a local pond in mid-March and Canada geese were jumping from the ice into the water and flapping up a ruckus!

Write a poem or story about an animal that lives in or around a pond. Or write about pond life from the point of view of a plant along the shore.

Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. What a great share today. I'm always looking for great nature books for one particular nephew and it targets his age group. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. Sue, this looks like a wonderful book. A 7 word poem on metamorphosis! Wow. I am intrigued. Added to my TBR list. Thanks so much. And I agree that the illustrations are wonderful. Thanks for a great review.

  3. This looks and sounds wonderful. I was immediately drawn to the art, and once you started describing the poems, I was all in. I want to read a 7-word poem about metamorphosis! Thanks for the rec. Will be adding it to my TBR list.

  4. This looks like a delightful book. My library has it on order, so I was able to reserve a copy. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for the post.

  5. Wow! This one looks beautiful -- really taking advantage of picture books as an art form. I don't read enough poems to my students -- will definitely check it out!