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SONG OF THE WATER BOATMAN by Joyce Sidman Kirkus Star

SONG OF THE WATER BOATMAN

and Other Pond Poems

by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beckie Prange

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: April 4th, 2005
ISBN: 0-618-13547-2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

The stately rhythms of Sidman’s 11 rhymed or free verse poems find echoes in Prange’s strongly modeled, richly colored woodcut scenes. Both naturalistically portray a pond’s flora and fauna from Spring Peepers, herons and cattails, to the titular insect (singing a Gilbert and Sullivan–esque duet with a closely related Backswimmer), and a Painted Turtle settling “Into the Mud” for the winter: “Sun / slants low, / chill seeps into black / water. No more days of bugs / and basking.” Sidman adds nature notes opposite each poem, Prange closes with a wordless glimpse of a snow-covered landscape and readers will come away feeling as if they, too, have been pond dwellers for a season. Matching Kurt Cyrus’s Oddhopper Opera: A Bug’s Garden of Verses (2001) for that up-close feel, this also makes an engrossing companion for Michael Elsohn Ross’s Pond Watching with Ann Morgan (2000), illus by Wendy Smith. (glossary) (Poetry. 7-10)