My daughter, Kari, and I occasionally baby-sit, and recently we spent an evening with a very bright young girl named Olivia. Olivia is 5 years old, and she loves books. After she was ready for bed, she asked if we would please read her favorite book, "Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems." This book was written by Joyce Sidman, and illustrated by Beckie Prange. It is a Caldecott Honor Book, and also won the BCCB Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award.
Olivia was so excited for us to read, and soon after we began, I could tell that this book was one she had asked her mother to read to her more than once. Each two page spread contains short paragraphs of scientific information about a type of plant, or an insect, or an animal. There is, also, a lovely woodcut illustration of that plant, or insect or animal, and a poem. The poems are so beautifully written, and the author manages to take the scientific information about the subject and transform it into vivid, captivating verse.
Olivia wanted to know all of the facts, and she wanted to hear the poems again and again. We looked at the pictures, and she told me how they had gone to a nearby pond in the National Park to watch the ducks eat duckweed. Then she explained all of the details of duckweed to me. She had such a look of excitement on her face and she was so thrilled to tell me about what she had learned.
I told her that I was going to share this book with all of you, because I could tell that she really enjoyed it. She nodded her head vigorously, and said, "and I learned so many things from it." What could be better than that?
You can find this book at most bookstores, and at your local library. It is appropriate for ages 5 through adult (Amazon says, Kindergarten through 5th grade.)