cover image Pond Year

Pond Year

Kathryn Lasky. Candlewick Press (MA), $13.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-187-8

This elegy to algae will tantalize even the finicky with its playful presentation of creative pond-slumming. Two six-year-olds-Carole and the unnamed narrator-kick off a year of pond games in April: still wearing mittens, they fashion miniature rafts from twigs with leaves for sails. As temperatures rise, scum spreads and thickens over the water; the girls then wade thigh-high and emerge with elegant ``mud silk'' stockings. After gathering frogs'-egg jelly, the ``scum chums'' watch as tadpoles form. Later they construct luge-style mudslides for racing crawdads; examine the ""secret"" ladyslippers, salamanders, damselfly wings, etc.; and, finally, see their reflections in November's clear black ice. Laced with informative facts and brimming with Bostock's (Think of an Eel) at once exuberant and delicate watercolors, this book is both a comical salute to friendship and a field guide. Ages 4-up. (May)