Matt, his sister, Katie, and his best friend, Pablo, revive a pond in the woods and enjoy it throughout the seasons.
Gorgeous, softly colored illustrations add to the magic of this remembered experience. Done in acrylics, colored pencil, and opaque ink and accurate in their nature detail, they fill each double-page spread. Before and after scenes on the endpapers reveal the neighboring suburbs and city beyond, but, except for Matt’s first venture out of his yard before the title page, the artist concentrates on the pond: its discovery, cleaning and rebuilding, the weather, the bugs, the old rowboat, the birds, and the joys of being in and around the water. Katie collects feathers to make the necklace she wears throughout the summer, reads about the creatures they encounter, and shares what she’s learned. A grand, wordless spread looks down on the children enjoying their pond, inviting readers into this idyllic world. There's a campout to end the summer, skating in the winter, and a slim plot involving a heart-shaped piece of blue quartz. Matt and Katie are white, and Pablo has darker hair and skin; these are the Wisconsin children of the author-illustrator’s childhood. (Is it the adult artist painting the pond on the final page?)
A loving portrayal of a never-forgotten connection with the natural world. (Picture book. 4-8)