Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems
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Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  410 ratings  ·  104 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 HMH Books for Young Readers
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Caldecott Honor Books
83rd out of 238 books — 132 voters
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Jenna Scurto
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
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
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...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Sidman is my new favorite poet, and my new favorite science-accessible-to-children author. That is to say, this book is glorious and I would buy it for grandkids & a classroom in a heartbeat. Thorough but concise explanations of life in a pond, coupled with inspiring, fun, prococative poems in a variety of styles. And Prange's art, oh my.

I'm not sure I like this *quite* as much as Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors. This one does get a tiny bit anthropomorphic and is just a little m...more

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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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
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.
Oct 11, 2008 Lara's rated it 5 of 5 stars
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 Be...more
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
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...more
Natalie Varnell
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...more
Steven Reid
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...more
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...more
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...more
Nicole Lamb
Picture Book Critique #9

Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems
By: Joyce Sidman

1. Picture Book Genre: Concept Picture Book

2. Brief Summary: Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems is a vibrant picture book littered with elaborate and delightful poems that center around the wonders of pond life featuring various animals, the food chain, vegetation and seasonal specialties. The book is filled with various examples of poetry in which students can see the imagery and alliteration that...more
Picture Book Project
Category: Poetry
Source: Caldecott Honor

This book explores the habitat of a pond. The beauty of the poems is that the author has written the poems through the eyes of ducklings, backswimmers, or water bears. There are poems about the food chain and the seasons. One page of the book is the poem while the other page provides factual information. For example, I didn't know that Dragonflies could live for month or years underwater before they eventually take flight.

The woodblock...more
Genre: Poetry

Summary: Sidman composes detailed, enthralling, and creative poems to tell the story of the pond habitat. To add to her poems she also includes a vast amount of information about the poem so the reader clearly understands her intent.

A: The book has many beautiful poems in it, but it also serves as a great avenue of information for the reader.

B: When the reader goes to look at the table of contents they will find that each specimen from the pond is mapped out into their own section...more
Kimberly Werner
"Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems” is a book of poetry for children in grades 3-5. It is a Caldecott winner. The opening poem is like an invitation to spring; the first creatures of the season are coming back to life. Each poem is accompanied by a vivid wood block and watercolor illustration as well as a short paragraph featuring education information about the subjects of that poem. The wording isn't overly complex but is sophisticated enough to challenge and teach the young reade...more
Sep 30, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an entertaining book that combines poetry and science. The poems are fun to read aloud and they show different styles and techniques of poetry. The bits of information about the various insects and plants is interesting, with just enough detail to explain but not bore. The woodblock and watercolor illustrations are gorgeous and complement the poems nicely.

We took our time reading this book, selecting only a couple of poems each night so we could appreciate the beauty of the illustration...more
Yue Zhou
This is the best poetry book I have ever read which is good for three to eight years old children. Specifically, it is a science poetry book talk about the creatures around a pond.

Many animals are introduced in the book, such as frog, duck and dragonfly. Combining with the poetry and illustrations, the author use very simply words to provide children images of their living environment and their live habits.

The poetry is very beautiful. Author use repeatable words in the text which is very rhyth...more
The ecology poems in this book focus on the pond habitat. They integrate information about insects, plants, microorganisms, fish, birds, frogs, turtles, and the food chain. Repetition, imagery, and form are strong features of the prose presented. The Caldecott honor illustrations are hand-colored woodcuts that compliment the setting and add visual detail. The blues, greens, browns, and purples used reinforce the text beautifully. (Prange has a degree in biology and a graduate certificate in natu...more
Zach Larson
Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman blends illustrations, scientific lessons and poems about a variety of pond-dwelling insects and other creatures. The section on a diving beetle has fun facts such as “they are sometimes called ‘water tigers’ because they are such fierce underwater hunters.” (p. 7) and a poem that plays off this with the line, “If I’m hungry (and I’m always hungry), it is mine, mine, mine.” (p. 8). The illustrations are colorful and take up about 16 i...more
Haley Neidig
This is a good book if only for the reason that it incorporates poetry and science. However, there are more great details to it. The illustrations are beautiful and the poems unique. This would be a great book to read to introduce a science or poetry lesson or to integrate both.
Picturebook-Poetry and Science Non-Fiction
This interesting book takes children's literature about pond life to a higher level. No cartoonish average, everyday stuff about generic ducks, frogs or fish, thank you very much. I enjoyed the combination of poetry and biology. So many details were new to me, and I'm glad that I'm not a baby wood duck!
A winner from all angles---the illustrations are amazing woodcuts, the poetry is accessible to a range of ages, interesting and filled with humor, and the non-fiction sidebars satisfy our Common Core cravings.
A wonderful addition to our Poetry Moth celebration.
This book is rich and beautiful. The illustrations are stunning woodcuts with watery jewel toned colors. The poems are delightful, lovely to read out loud. That it is also telling poems about real pond crashes and their lives makes this book truly stunning.
Oct 05, 2011 Kristie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teacher's wanting to teach poetry
This is a Caldecott Honor book of poetry about different animals and plants found around a pond. I really like the way this book is set up because for each poem there is also a corresponding nonfiction paragraph about that particular animal or plant that is the subject of the poem. I also think this would be a great book for introducing many styles or forms of poetry. There are varied styles, including haiku, action, listing, poems that repeat, and poems that build upon themselves (much like "Th...more
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Joyce Sidman lives in Wayzata, Minnesota.
More about Joyce Sidman...
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