Kuefler, Joseph. Beyond the Pond. New York: Balzer + Bray, 2015. 978-0062364272. 40p. $17.99. Gr. K-3.
“Just behind an ordinary house filled with too little fun, Ernest D had decided today would be the day that he’d explore the depths of his pond.” Accompanied by his spotted dog, he throws in a variety of objects and is thrilled to determine that his pond is bottomless. He and his dog then plunge in armed with an old diver helmet, flashlight and other “explorer supplies,” and swim through the dark and wondrous deep which opens up on a wild world on the other side. This is a fun and beautifully illustrated book about imagination, exploring, and playing in the wild. THOUGHTS: I read aloud Beyond the Pond along with last year’s Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, and the 1988 classic Henry the Explorer by Mark Taylor and Graham Booth. This lesson featured a fun compare and contrast discussion; all three books feature a companion dog and some similar tools, but each book takes a different approach to exploring and fantasy vs. reality.
Picture Book Kathie Jackson, Plymouth Meeting Friends School
Sill, Cathryn. About Habitats: Polar Regions. Atlanta: Peachtree, 2015. 978-1-56145-832-5. 48pp. $16.95. Grades K-3.
This nonfiction title pairs straightforward introductory information about the polar regions with stunning watercolor illustrations. On each spread, the left-hand page contains one sentence about either the Arctic or the Antarctic, and the right-hand page features a related illustration. The text describes how animals and plants survive in this harsh environment, and it also describes some of the daylight and temperature fluctuations these regions experience. The realistic watercolor illustrations provide additional insight about the fish, mammals, birds, and plants that make their homes here. The Afterword, at the back of the book, includes additional facts about life in some of the coldest places on Earth. A glossary and list of recommended websites rounds out the backmatter. THOUGHTS: This title will be a valuable resource for students studying biomes. The text is easily accessible and unintimidating, yet more in-depth details that will round out research are shared in the backmatter.
Science; Habitats Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary, Southern York County