Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Looking Closely around the Pond

Looking Closely around the Pond

Frank Serafini
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Kids Can Press, Ltd., 2010   ISBN: 978-1553373957

Imagine if you can what it would be like to explore the area around a pond if you were only a few inches high. What would things look like from close up? What kinds of creatures would you find in this habitat?

In this cleverly presented and fact-filled picture book, Frank Serafini takes his readers on a very unique journey. Wanting to show readers his own “new way of seeing,” Frank Serafini gives his audience part of a picture and asks them “What could it be?” Children can try to guess what it is that they are looking at.

On the first spread we see the picture of strange orange and black surface that seems to have textures with lines that are arranged in some kind of pattern. When readers turn the page, they will discover that what they were looking at was part of the shell of a box turtle. The author then provides his audience with further information about box turtles, which are “shy creatures” that are poor swimmers.

A few pages later we see the picture of what looks like a painting. What are those white swirls, and what is that bright electric green surface? On the next page all will become clear. The white swirls and green surface are the feathers of a mallard duck. We are told that the male mallards have “emerald green feathers on their heads,” whereas the females have brown feathers that provide them with effective camouflage.

With beautiful photographs and interesting sections of text throughout, this is a book that will fascinate children who like to play guessing games and who enjoy exploring the natural world around them. Frank Serafini not only intrigues and educates his audience, but he also shows children how magical and beautiful the natural world is. He shows them how important it is to notice the little things.