Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Over and Under the Pond

Over and Under the Pond

Kate Messner
Illustrator:  Christopher Silas Neal 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Chronicle Books, 2017   ISBN: 978-1452145426

One day a mother and her son climb into their canoe and paddle out onto the pond. Looking into the water, and seeing something moving beneath the surface, the boy asks his mother “What’s down there?” She tells her son that beneath them is a “whole hidden world” full of creatures of all kinds.

As they paddle past rushes, whirligig beetles skate across the surface of the water. Below, minnows swim in the grassy forests where brook trout wait for them. The boy and his mother see painted turtles sunning themselves on a log and watch as they drop into the water as the people approach.

Among the cattails a red-winged blackbird carries grass in her beak to build a nest. Below, on the bottom of the pond, a caddisfly larva builds a nest around herself using sand and little pebbles.

The visitors see a moose standing in the water munching waterlilies, and beneath the surface a beaver gathers tasty roots to eat. Young animals above and below the surface prepare to take the next step into adulthood: a goldfinch readies itself to fly, and tadpoles transition into becoming frogs.

All around the boy and his mother, as the day changes from morning to afternoon to evening, above and below the surface of the pond, animals go about their business seeking out food, avoiding predators, caring for the babies, and building their homes.

This wonderful book takes readers through a day spent paddling across a pond. We get to know the birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, mammals, and fish that call the pond their home, and see how they coexist in their beautiful environment. At the back of the book readers will find further information about pond ecosystems and the animals mentioned in the book.