Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Song of the Water Boatman and Other Poems

Song of the Water Boatman and Other Poems

Joyce Sidman
Illustrator:  Beckie Prange 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Houghton Mifflin, 2005   ISBN: 978-0618135479

We are going to visit a pond, to spend time with the creatures that live there, and to see this very special place in the spring, summer, fall and winter. In the spring the song of the peeper frogs is an indication that spring is finally here and you can listen in the night as the little frogs "sing you to sleep." This is also the time of year when the mother wood duck takes her little ducklings for their first swim after hatching.

In the summer little creatures fill the pond swimming to and fro, eating and being eaten. This food chain begins with the algae "green and small" and ends with the heron "queen of the pond." This is also the time of year when the caddis fly larvae build themselves a portable camouflaged home, each one of which is unique and carefully decorated.

In the fall. the painted turtle digs itself a burrow into the mud, and in a snug little cave it goes to sleep, slowing down "to its winter rhythm."

Exquisitely illustrated, this picture book beautifully captures the rhythms of pond life. Each of the eleven poems in the book is accompanied by a hand-colored woodblock print and an interesting section of text which further explores the themes of the poem. The poems take many forms, each one giving readers a colorful and lively picture of life in a pond.