cover image Pond


Jim LaMarche. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4735-5

Stories about nature often feature disappearing wildlife and dwindling habitats, but LaMarche (Winter Is Coming) shows how nature can rebound. Matt realizes that the little spring bubbling up through a trash pile near his house might once have been a pond. He asks his friends Katie and Pablo to help him clean it up and dam the flow. As water begins to pool up behind their homemade dam, birds and animals appear. Canada geese used to pass overhead in the fall, but now “hundreds of them would fly down and rest on our pond.” In LaMarche’s spreads, the children—Matt and Katie are white, and Pablo appears to be Latino—are often viewed from a distance enjoying the paradise they’ve made, drifting on the water in a wooden dinghy, camping with Matt’s father in the fall, and skating in the winter. The combination of children, water, trees, and birds offers many scenes of richness and wonder, and LaMarche’s detailed artwork captures it in sharp focus. It’s a powerful vision of making one’s own wild place, with no special equipment or expenditure required. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)