Over and Under the Pond

illus. by Christopher Silas Neal. 48p. further reading. websites. Chronicle. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781452145426.
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.

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