K-Gr 4—Messner and Neal have followed up on their proven formula (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt; Over and Under the Snow), this time focusing on the ecosystem of an Adirondack pond at twilight. While a woman and boy in a canoe are seen at various points admiring the pond, the wildlife and plants are the real characters of this story, beautifully illustrated in mixed media. Neal captures minute details that will have readers easily recognizing specific species. With descriptive verbs and the use of onomatopoeia, Messner's prose is both playful and lovely to read aloud, and the slow close of the day and early night depicted make this an ideal bedtime book. An author's note, an "About the Animals" section, and a list of further reading bump up the age of potential readers, as even older budding naturalists will find something to enjoy here. VERDICT Librarians can confidently purchase this title for elementary schoolers.—Courtney Lewis, St. Catherine's School, Richmond, VA
In this author-illustrator team's third collaboration (Over and Under the Snow, rev. 1/12; Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, rev. 5/15), a mother and child spend a day paddling around a pond, noticing the creatures and plants that live there. They watch the surface of the water, "reflecting the sky. / Sunshine and clouds--then a shadow below," which draws the child's attention to what's underneath. Mom explains, "Under the pond is a whole hidden world of minnows and crayfish, turtles and bullfrogs." Messner conveys the sights and sounds and motions of a peaceful day spent enjoying and observing nature. "Over the pond," the two see painted turtles on a log, a moose with a mouthful of waterlilies, a blue heron hunting for minnows; "under the pond," beavers dive, a caddisfly larva builds a home, tadpoles change. Neal's mixed-media illustrations stay mostly in blues, browns, and pinks, especially as the day moves to evening and then night. His depictions of the plants and animals are realistic but play with the subtleties of water's movement. Both author and artist use varied perspectives, showing the pond from high above and from beneath the water, looking up at the bottom of the canoe. An author's note about pond ecosystems is followed by information about each of the creatures in the text and illustrations, with quick, kid-friendly facts. susan dove lempke

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