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Friday, October 19, 2018

At The Pond, written and illustrated by Werner Zimmermann. North Winds Press, Scholastic. 2018. $19.99 ages 2 and up

"Six fish,

Seven fish,


Eight fish,

Nine fish,

Ten fish, "

You could call this a counting book, and you would be right! You call also call it a concept book, and you would be right about that as well. If you missed  seeing it as a stunning book of art which shows the natural beauty of a pond environment, you would be indifferent to its meditative and peaceful realism. I did read it, and know it was written for Mr. Zimmermann's granddaughter who loves his backyard pond. I appreciate that it will appeal to little ones for the counting experiences it encourages, and the concentration required to look so closely at such a tranquil spot. 

But, there is so much more! For me, it was only through repeated visits that I noticed more than what was evident initially. It gives such a feeling of quiet wonder as the double page spreads are turned to capture attention and provide a clear look at pond life throughout the day.

The water lilies and small log encourage visitors. In the early dawn, the frogs and a salamander make themselves at home there. Soon, sunlight peeks through, as does a single goldfish. Carefully watch the budding lily as it also reacts to the sun. Then, the movement begins in earnest ... one fish after another, more frogs, then insects make their presence known. The lily expands, the sunlight moves across the water's surface and a dragonfly lands. The sudden appearance of a heron sends easy prey to cover. Nothing for the heron here today. The intruder gone, the pond and its wondrous creatures can return to the tranquility once more. And, the counting continues! 

Full of life and light, this is a book to be admired. The final page includes short, informative paragraphs for the water lily and the pond's many featured guests.

Gorgeous! Worthy of its place on the shortlist for the Governor General's Literary Award List for Young People' Literature - Illustrated Books.

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