________________ CM . . . . Volume III Number 18 . . . . May 9, 1997

cover Pond Seasons.

Sue Ann Alderson. Illustrated by Ann Blades.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood/Douglas & McIntyre, l997. 32 pp., cloth, $15.95.
ISBN 1-88899-283-1.

Subject Headings:
Pond animals-Juvenile poetry.
Ponds-Juvenile poetry.

Preschool - grade 2 / Ages 2 - 7.
Review by Alison Mews.

*** /4


image Raccoons out for an evening scavenge, four tumble-young raccoons twitter in a line-dance behind mother, look for fruit and frogs, take their findings pondside for a wash, twitter, tumble-play, hide and seek up trees and down, then tumble-follow in a line again, to find their hollow log and tumble in.

This collaboration by Sue Ann Alderson and Ann Blades is a celebration of language and life. In fourteen verses the changing seasons of a pond are depicted through fauna familiar to children. Alderson evokes the essence of each animal and allows its personality to shape the tone of her lyrical verse. Hence we witness the frenetic energy of young frogs, reflect on the ethereal stillness of butterflies, are amused by the clumsy awkwardness of young raccoons and hear the autumn hurry of Canada Geese. The soft watercolours by Ann Blades add essential visual description to the understated science lesson. The cycles of birth and growth are clearly displayed in muted shades on double page spreads for each verse. The interplay of text and picture is varied from full colour pages with text imposed over a lightened background, to all white backgrounds with small visual vignettes surrounding the text. This eye-pleasing design contributes to the overall attractiveness of this lovely book.

My only quibble is that there is no Table of Contents, index or pagination as one has come to expect from poetry books and which will confound any future indexer should this book be included in a poetry index Also, the poems are not separated into seasonal chapters, although they are arranged from Spring to Winter and running titles indicate into which season they fall. This lack of organization means the poems are less immediately accessible to teachers preparing thematic units, but it does not detract from the success of the marriage of natural science, lyrical language and lovely illustrations. A book to be enjoyed on many levels.


Alison Mews, Coordinator Centre for Instructional Services, Faculty of Education Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NF.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364