The author-illustrator team that brought readers into the garden and under the snow (Over and Under the Snow, 2011, etc.) now takes them on a breathtaking journey beneath the calm waters of a pond.
Though the surface of the water seems calm, it is teeming with life, as a small black boy and his mother discover during an afternoon row. This book is another artistic triumph for Messner and Neal, whose perfect marriage of prose and pictures creates a lush, watery world filled with color and brimming with activity. Each double-page spread, done in a soothing palette of greens and blues, reveals the pond to be a vibrant and rich habitat where fish, amphibians, animals, and birds lay eggs, build nests, store food, and otherwise engage in the cycle of life. Each illustration focuses on a creature that lives either above or below the pond’s surface, and the child protagonist’s sense of wonder is mirrored by the author’s evocative prose. The events of the book occur within the space of one day, and as afternoon fades into evening, the yellows of the flowers and pink of the sky give way to night-blue in an arresting symphony of color. Well-researched backmatter provides inquisitive readers with additional information about the creatures they see.
A magical artistic and informational world that readers will delight in visiting again and again. (Informational picture book. 4-8)