Review of At the Pond

At the Pond At the Pond
by David Elliott; illus. by Amy Schimler-Safford
Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.    g
3/22    978-1-5362-0598-5    $18.99

After visiting such settings as the skies (On the Wing, rev. 11/14), the past (In the Past, rev. 3/18), and the forest (In the Woods, rev. 3/20), Elliott invites readers into another poetic exploration of the natural world. As the sun rises, ushered in by the buttery-yellow endpapers, “the water ripples like a fan / unfolding on the surface of the pond.” A red-winged blackbird is first to greet the morning. With each page-turn, Elliott’s sensory verse introduces a new resident of this habitat: e.g., a frog amidst vibrant pink water lilies, a snapping turtle under the pond’s surface ready to send a minnow to its “hard-shelled fate,” and “delicate, / diaphanous, / dazzling” dragonflies. Richly textured mixed-media illustrations present views of the pond and its inhabitants throughout the day, from a misty, ethereal morning to dusk when “the evening light is fading” and “the charismatic fireflies / blink their silent lullabies.” Back matter provides ­additional information about the animals. This volume is a celebration of observation, and readers will surely heed the beckoning call of that red-winged blackbird beyond the book’s pages.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Grace McKinney
Grace McKinney

Grace McKinney holds an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons University and reviews for the Horn Book Magazine. She works at a Montessori school in St. Louis, Missouri, and writes about children's books and Montessori on the blog Cosmic Bookshelf.

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