A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Concept of ecosystem in wetlands and pond. Vocabulary in context: lurk, lunge, delectable, teeters, spindly, larva, scuttling, waterlogged, herbivore, carnivore, omnivore. More detailed information in notes at end about the animals featured in story.
We can be respectful of nature and learn about wildlife. The lives of various animals are interconnected in an ecosystem. Nature is precious and rich.
Positive Role Models
The boy and mom are mindful of the animal life living in and above the pond. They enjoy nature and are observant, respectful, and intellectually curious.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Over and Under the Pond, by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal, is the third in their series of books observing the plants and animals around us. The previous two are set in the snow and the garden (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt). In this book, an African-American boy and mom are skimming over a pond in a canoe, observing the rich wildlife teeming above and below the water's surface. The text demonstrates how the animals they spot are interconnected, and at the end provides additional information about each animal featured. The boy's a sensitive and perceptive role model, and by example encourages kids to be mindful of the environment. This book's a natural for budding naturalists.
Is It Any Good?
A book that's as deep and bountiful as the pond it plumbs, this profile of a rich, busy ecosystem will entrance all nature lovers. In Over and Under the Pond, author Kate Messner's text is clear and informative as well as lyrical, with passages such as "The water’s a mirror, reflecting the sky," and a description of dragonfly larvae catching minnows "in monster-fast jaws."
Illustrator Christopher Silas Neal's art makes the pond come alive, revealing what cannot easily be seen below the surface. In one spread with a striking perspective, we look down at the pond from the great height of a woodpecker pecking a tall tree. In another, we look up from the depths at the bottom of the boat. Neal cast the boy and the mom as African-American, and it's our pleasure to take a ride with this thoughtful, observant pair, as our attention is drawn to all the wildlife around them.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.