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Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  661 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
From spring’s first thaw to autumn’s chill, the world of the pond is a dramatic place. Though seemingly quiet, ponds are teeming with life and full of surprises. Their denizens—from peepers to painted turtles, duckweed to diving beetles—lead secret and fascinating lives. A unique blend of whimsy, science, poetry, and hand-colored woodcuts, this CaldecottHonor-winningcollec ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 4th 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company
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The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyMadeline by Ludwig BemelmansWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakFlotsam by David WiesnerTuesday by David Wiesner
List for #nerdcott
267th out of 335 books — 37 voters
This is Just to Say by Joyce SidmanA Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn NelsonA Humble Life by Linda Oatman HighSong of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems by Joyce SidmanAn Old Shell by Tony Johnston
Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Awards
4th out of 29 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,263)
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Oct 19, 2014 Miriam rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, picture
Illustrations: very nice, can see why this got a Caldecott. Even make gross bugs look pretty, while being accurate.

Poems: snore. The little dry factual descriptions at the sides were more interesting than this feeble verse.
Jenna Scurto
Mar 11, 2013 Jenna Scurto rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Song of the Water Boatman & Other Poems by Joyce Sidman is a compilation of poems focused around pond life. Majority of the poems focus on living creatures found in a pond, but the poems also cover the food chain and hibernation. The informational text and poetry is combined in a seamless and easy to understand fashion. When I picked up the book I expected to read poetry, when in reality I read poetry, while learning fascinating facts. Originally I would have advised this book for early elem ...more
James Govednik
Nov 11, 2009 James Govednik rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This book scores on all levels. The poems are wonderful, the illustrations are beautiful AND each poem is accompanied by informational text with facts about the featured creature. The poems manage to include some of these factual bits as well as conveying interesting images of the insect or animal. The combination of words and images takes us through the world of a pond. The serenity of the still water, the diving duck, the darting dragonfly. In "Spring Splashdown" the text leads our eyes to fal ...more
L11_Ryanne Szydlik
Mar 19, 2011 L11_Ryanne Szydlik rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
The first thing that caught my eye about this book was its format. Looking at the front cover and reading the title did not captivate my interest right away. I actually probably would not have picked this book if it was not for my librarian. She recommended it, so I gave it a go. Once I opened up the pages in this book I was completely involved in the poetry.

The poems are written all about the topic of animals and plants that live in a pond. The language is beautiful and the illustrations are b
Caitlin E
Nov 08, 2015 Caitlin E rated it really liked it
Shelves: week-7-poetry
This is my Poetry book club book.

Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems is a compilation of rhythmic and scientific poetry. It is a Caldecott Honor book.

I found this book fascinating because poetry is such an under-served genre for young children. The poems are written in kid-friendly but challenging content-specific vocabulary. Each poem is accompanied by information related to the animal the poem is based on. Some of the facts were really quite interesting! I also liked that the autho
Oct 02, 2015 Kellean rated it really liked it
Shelves: rll-538
Song of the Water Boatman explores a pond through artistic expression. Joyce Sidman’s words examines the living things in and around a pond. From algae to a nymph to a frog to a turtle, her words give the personalities to all of the pond’s inhabitants and will make you look at a pond differently the next time you visit one. From cover to cover, Beckie Prange’s illustrations bring you into the pond’s world and gives the feeling that you are actually there. Together, they create a world that you c ...more
Oct 17, 2010 Esther rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry

Song of the Water Boatmen and Other Pond Poems
Written By Joyce Sidman
Illustrated By: Beckie Prange
Published By: Houghton Mifflin Company, NY, NY 2005
Approx. Interest Level: Grade 3-5

This book is a great intermingling of poetry and nonfiction prose. There are poems that go with various animals.
These poems take advantage of the illustrations and include varied formats that take advantage of rhythm, format of the words, and tone. Most pages consist of one, non-fiction prose passage, one poem, and o
It is rare to see a "total package" book! Science info, literature in the form of poetry and beautiful woodcuts are beautifully showcased in this title. While Sidman the author is obviously the beginning of this book, the woodcuts and graphic layout are just as important to the overall presentation. Houghton Mifflin is to be praised for the work of true art that their editors have produced in this title.

Some of the science facts I learned were wood duck babies jump from h nests built high in tre
Jan 06, 2008 Magda rated it really liked it
Listen for Me (SPRING PEEPERS)

Listen for me on a spring night,
on a wet night,
on a rainy night.
Listen for me on a still night,
for in the night, I sing.

That is when my heart thaws,
my skin thaws,
my hunger thaws.
That is when the world thaws,
and the air begins to ring.

I creep up from the cold pond,
the ice pond,
the winter pond.
I creep up from the chill pond,
to breathe the warming air.

I cling to the green reeds,
the damp reeds,
the muddy reeds.
I cling to the slim reeds;
my brothers are everywhere.

My thr
Jul 18, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
This book won a 2006 Caldecott honor award. Honestly, I didn't think much of this book from the cover, but the book itself is genius. The author created these fantastic nature poems about insects, birds, amphibians and other pond creatures. They are paired with these absolutely gorgeous woodcut and watercolor illustrations. Each poem has a scientific explanation about the creature featured in the poem and there is an index of scientific terms in the back of the book. I believe that this book or ...more
Fabiola Cortes
Nov 27, 2015 Fabiola Cortes rated it really liked it
Shelves: week-7-poetry
This is my second poetry picture book for week 7.

Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems is a Caldecott Honor Book. This book is similar to my poetry book club book in terms of it being a compilation of poems. The poems included in this book are rhythmic and includes scientific poetry which I found interesting.

The poetry included in the book is kid-friendly and it would work great in all classroom. I think it is great that the poems include content-specific vocabulary. I could use this b
Katie Farver
Songs of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems is a delightful collection of poetry that focuses on the activities of pond plant and animal inhabitants throughout all of the seasons. Each poem focuses on a particular species and their interactions within their environment, including information about their habitat, life cycle, place in the food chain, and many other areas. In the margin of the pages, additional facts about the species mentioned in the poem are provided allowing readers to furth ...more
Lexus Beedy
Feb 26, 2015 Lexus Beedy rated it liked it
Personal Reaction:
I really liked the variety of structure within the poems. As they are similar amongst the topic and relate to one another they also provide examples of options to think about when writing poetry. This book has amazing illustrations and has even won a Caldecott honor.

This book was Purpose:
This book would be appropriate for a read aloud for grade levels 2nd-4th grade.
Life in the pond is much different than when we stand outside looking in at the calm water. As we usually don’t
Brooke Snyder
Oct 29, 2014 Brooke Snyder rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Summary: “Song of the Water Boatmen” is a collection of poems that are about living things that live in or around the pond. The one poem that I focused on is “Into the Mud.” It’s a poem about a turtle—the turtle sinks deep down inside the mud as the winter season hits. As he closes his eyes he thinks of the warmth that will eventually follow.

Personal Response/Critical Response: This book of poems is fascinating and catchy. This book is also informational and includes facts that you can share wit
Laura Lucero
Mar 17, 2016 Laura Lucero rated it it was amazing
Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems is beautifully written by, Joyce Sidman and Illustrated by, Beckie Prange. A 2006 Caldecott Honor winner, which is well deserved, the Illustration are woodblock hand-colored with watercolor. Each poem in the book describes the many things going on in a pond environment from the Great Diving Beetle to the Painted Turtle.
Each two page layout also includes a detailed description of what the poem is referring to in its rhythmic words. In the peritext
Oct 24, 2015 Molly rated it it was amazing
Poetry Book:
This adorable book tells about different creatures that live in and around the pond that one may not hear about otherwise. Each page has a well written, sweet poem as well as a gorgeous illustration that adds to the understanding of the creature and a paragraph blurb giving facts about the organism. This is such an interesting way to share nonfiction information and I really enjoyed the change of pace from other nonfiction texts. I feel like I learned fun facts about each plant and
Michelle Prata
Mar 24, 2016 Michelle Prata rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! This book of poems is beautiful, each page has a different beautiful illustration and lovely poem to accompany it. The poems center around the wild life in the pond. The illustrations on each page match the poem. This book had poems about painted turtles and frogs. The poems are printed in different formats and styles. Each poem has its own unique style. The poems give life to the creatures and wild life of the pond.

I really did enjoy the these poems a lot, some of them w
Leslie Abbott
Oct 31, 2015 Leslie Abbott rated it it was amazing
I read this book as part of my poems book club.

Song of the Water boatman and other pond poems is a compilation of poems that describe living things in a pond ecosystem. Each poem is well written describing each organism. The vocabulary can a little difficult for kids, if they are younger. I believe this can be scaffold and teach students some of the vocabulary or describe what is going on then the students would be able to comprehend what poem is saying. In each poem there is a paragraph that de
The eleven poems in this stellar nature-related collection literally hum with the sights and sounds of spring peepers, wood duck splashings, and even a painted turtle's fall sojourn in the bottom of a pond. Since the poems are accompanied by brief passages providing information about each of their subjects, readers are both informed and entertained. My favorite poem is "Song of the Waterboatman and Backswimmer's Refrain" because of its piratical rhythm. The illustrations, created from woodblocks ...more
Melissa Stewart
Mar 25, 2012 Melissa Stewart rated it it was amazing
I just love this book. The combination of poems and informative sidebars is terrific, and the art is wonderful. It never leaves my "favorites" bookshelf.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Not only are these wonderful poems, but the illustrations are beautiful! Well deserving of the Caldecott honor book award it received.
Apr 09, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it
This collection of poems focusses on ponds and all of the wildlife that one may find in them and around them. Each poem is about a certain species of plant, insect or animal. There is a poem about wood ducks, frogs, beetles, dragonflies, flies, water boatman, water bears, cattails, painted turtles and the food chain on the pond.

The illustrator used a combination of water colors and was able to create sharp lines with dark borders. She did not use the the entire pages when she created the images
Yasmin Gomez Geng
This book is a wonderful mixture of poetry, information on animals, and beautiful, grand illustrations.

First, the book has poems about each highlighted animal. The poems are almost lyrical in nature, with some repetition that behaves almost like a chorus. Second, each page displays a short paragraph with information about the animal on the page. Third, the illustrations are big, almost as if the illustrator had zoomed in on the animal. It creates a certain degree of wonder.

Grade: 3rd Grade until
Oct 11, 2008 Lara's rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Parents & children 1st to 5th grade
Synopsis : A unique blend of whimsy, science, poetry, and hand-colored woodcuts, this collection of poetry invites all readers to take a closer look at the teeming life living in the hidden ponds and wetlands just outside your door.
Review : An absolutely beautifully written and illustrated book filled with all of the great things that make children's minds blossom with curiosity and excitement. This collection of poetry is paired with some of the most stunning woodcut illustrations created by
The book, with gorgeous page and a half, color-filled, woodcut illustrations takes us on a journey of poetry along with science, from blooming spring through to winter snow. Each double spread includes the poem along with a side bar of factual information that tells more about the subject. You will meet the creatures In the Depths of the Summer Pond, where we are reminded of the childhood rhyme "This Is The House That Jack Built", and the caddis fly's unusual way of dressing in Aquatic Fashion. ...more
Apr 05, 2013 Vrinda rated it it was amazing
Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems written by Joyce Sidman is a Caldecott Honor winning collection of poetry intended for readers P-I. The poems take readers on the fascinating life hidden in ponds and wetlands. This book is a creative coupling of science and poetry. Each poem depicts a part of the pond, whether it is a creature, or the overall food chain. Midway, there is even a cute riddle that makes the reader guess the animal being referred to!

It took a poem or two to get used
Natalie Varnell
Dec 10, 2012 Natalie Varnell rated it it was amazing
genre: poetry
Summary: Joyce Sidman has created a beautiful collection of springtime poetry that centers on inhabitants around a pond. For every poem she also includes a small informational paragraph as well as a complimentary illustration.
A) The strongest element in Song of the Water Boatman is the kin observations that Joyce Sidman has made on one simple pond. She is truly able to hone in on the beauty of nature.
B) Joyce Sidman wrote in her author notes that she was inspired to write this colle
Steven Reid
Oct 15, 2012 Steven Reid rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems

1. Genre: Concept Picture Book

2. This book is full of poems about animals that live in and around the pond. The poems touch on the behaviors of these animals throughout the different seasons and stages of life. There are many different styles of poetry used in the book. The poems are accompanied by delightful pictures that describe the scene of the animals in their natural habitat.

3a. The poems are scientifically accurate and the illustrations make a
Oct 06, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, reviewed
Genre: Children’s, Poetry, Informational


A collection of lovely, informative poems about the many inhabitants of the fresh water pond, Joyce Sidman captures the mysterious and fascinating world that exists above and below the surface. The informational text accompanying each poem adds an aspect of learning without being overbearing, elevating the poetry with authenticity and educational detail.

Beckie Prange, a gifted illustrator, brings the excitement of color, dimension, and life to the
Nov 21, 2012 Diana rated it it was amazing
Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman

1. Genre: Poetry

2. Summary: This is a wonderful collection of poems about the hidden world of plants and animals living in and around ponds. The poems follow the seasons, beginning with the song of spring peepers and ending with the painted turtle hibernating in the mud for the winter. With each poem there are factual notes about the pond animals and there is a glossary of terms in the back as well.

3. Critique:
a. Area for comment
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Joyce Sidman lives in Wayzata, Minnesota.
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