Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day: Pond Circle

In honor of Earth Day, here's a book for the preschool/kindergarten set that clarifies, very simply and beautifully, the circle of life in a pond. Pond Circle, by Betsy Franco, is written on a "This is the House that Jack Built" model: "This is the algae, the jade green algae," and "This is the skunk, the shy striped skunk," etc. Each animal depends on the others for food, and they all depend, directly or indirectly, on the algae, which is the foundation of the whole pond.

If there were no algae, there would be no mayfly nymph; without the nymph, there would be no diving beetle; without the beetle, no frogs would eat, and so on through snakes and owls and raccoons until at last we meet the stalking coyote. At the very back of the book are a couple pages with more facts about each animal or plant in the story.

Love the pictures on this one; they're either painted on wood or painted to look like wood grain, the grain itself suggesting the ripples in the pond water or the eddying colors of a sunset. Pictures are all on 2-page spreads, very large and colorful, making this a good choice for a group read-aloud. This one will play especially well with preschoolers because of its engaging rhythm and repeated word patterns.

The publisher says this one is good from age 4 up through 3rd grade, but I doubt you'd find many 9 year olds wanting to read it. On the other hand, I bet they'd listen in if you were reading it to a younger child. A nice book to introduce children to the idea of the interconnectedness of our environment.

Images courtesy of

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