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Over and Under

Over and Under the Pond

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In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered...over and under the pond.

48 pages, Hardcover

First published March 7, 2017

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About the author

Kate Messner

88 books1,475 followers
Kate Messner is an award-winning author, TED 2012 speaker, and former middle school English teacher. Her books for kids include THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z.,SUGAR AND ICE, and EYE OF THE STORM (Walker/Bloomsbury Dec. 2010) the MARTY MCGUIRE series (Scholastic), SEA MONSTER'S FIRST DAY, and OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW (Chronicle, Books). Kate also wrote SPITFIRE and CHAMPLAIN AND THE SILENT ONE, both Lake Champlain historical novels published by North Country Books.

Kate lives with her family on Lake Champlain, where she loves to read, write, hike, swing on birch trees, and eat chocolate. She also hangs out in various places online.
Visit Kate's website: http://www.katemessner.com

Find Kate on Facebook:

...or follow her on Twitter - @katemessner

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5 stars
869 (38%)
4 stars
937 (41%)
3 stars
397 (17%)
2 stars
61 (2%)
1 star
12 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 391 reviews
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
November 26, 2017
Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books, and we have been doing this for years. Everyone rates each book and adds a comment and it may (or may not) affect my overall rating. This is book #19 of 2017, and is one of my and our favorites of the year.

Tara: 3.5 stars. I like outdoors books. There were several paintings that depict the over and under the pond perspectives I liked a lot.

Harry (12): 3 stars. I got to see just how many animals are under the surface of the pond that I never see.

Hank (11). 4.1 stars. I like how we the readers get to see all the changes that take place in the animals's lives.

Jenn (adult family friend): 5 stars. Gorgeous artwork, incredible aerial views, unusual tall book size that enhances the sense of depth and the over and under element, great use of sound devices--onomatopeia, alliiteration, assonance. Includes an excellent indexed catalogue of all the animals in the book.

Dave: 4.5 stars. Beautiful over and under simultaneous descriptions, including some "over" animals and birds (such as herons and otters) that sometimes go under the surface of the water. The book is a smart book about the importance of ecosystem, and the importance of our valuing what we don't see sometimes.
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,126 reviews104 followers
October 15, 2019
Both lyrically poetically sweet and at the same time factually informative (showing a mother and her young son exploring a pond environment in their small rowboat) Over and Under the Pond indeed presents a wonderful marriage of text and images. And yes, I also certainly do very much appreciate that illustrator Christopher Silas Neal depicts the African-American mother and child as something unspectacular and natural, that there thus are no textual allusions whatsoever as to their ethnicity made by author Kate Messner, with her narrative simply and beautifully showing what could be any mother and child enjoying a quiet boating sojourn on a local pond, exploring the flora and fauna both above and below the waterline. With Christopher Silas Neal’s illustrations providing a visually realistic but also imaginative mirror to and for Kate Messner’s featured text (and I have in particular enjoyed his sense and use of colour and how successfully and interestingly he depicts changes in visual perspective), Over and Under the Pond celebrates both family and nature, and how the latter can easily be experienced and enjoyed with gentleness and quiet ecological observation (with of course for me, the supplemental information on the animal species encountered and the suggestions for further reading at the back of Over and Under the Pond being appreciated added educational bonuses).

Four stars for Over and Under the Pond and highly recommended (but yes, I really do wish that Christopher Silas Neal had drawn the life jackets the mother and her son are wearing a bit more clearly and thickly, as in some of the pictures, it sure does at first appear if one only casually glances as though they are boating without PFDs).
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,297 reviews2,292 followers
August 2, 2021
I absolutely adore the work of the author. I love this one as well. However, I wish every book in this series were as lush and detailed as the one with the rainforest. Love it. Worth the collection.
Profile Image for Alex  Baugh.
1,954 reviews108 followers
April 19, 2017
Just in time for spring and especially for Earth Day, Kate Messner gives her young readers Over and Under the Pond, a beautiful companion to her previous books Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt.

As a curious young boy and his mother paddle around a pond in their rowboat, he asks his mother what's under the water's surface. His mother tells him there's a secret world underneath their boat, a world of minnows, crayfish, turtles, bullfrogs, and tadpoles slowly growing into frogs, learning how to hop on newly developed legs.
There's even a beaver diving down into the depths of the pond for some yummy roots to eat,

And there is just a much going on out the water and around the edge of the pond - a goldfinch getting ready for its first flight, a moose munching on water lilies, ospreys flying overhead, and raccoons scrounging up some supper.

The pond is teeming with life above and below, all there for anyone who takes the time to quietly observe it. Its abundance of plants and animals form an important ecosystem. As Messner explains in her Author's Note, sometimes this ecosystem is threatened by pollution or the loss of habitat. It's important to maintain these ponds so that the cycle of life can continue.

Besides her Author's Note, Messner includes additional information about all the creatures that depend on the pond, from the smallest caddisfly larvae to that big old moose and the role each one plays in nature. There is a lot to be learned in this book and an ideal reference for anyone who might want to make their own explorations.

Christopher Silas Neal's mixed-media illustrations are the perfect compliment to Messner's lyrical text. A palette of muted, gently blended watery blues, springy greens and browns all add to the feeling of the interconnectedness of nature. Neal has chosen to present the pond and the area surrounding it from various points of view: my favorite is the bird's eye view looking down, or maybe it's the fish eye view looking up, or maybe it's just all of them.

Over and Under the Pond is an ideal book for young readers curious about the world they live in, for lover's of nature, protector's of the environment and everyone else. It is a book kids can return to again and again.

This book is recommended for readers age 4+
This book was sent to me by the publisher, Chronicle Books

This review was originally posted at Randomly Reading
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,245 reviews3,563 followers
March 22, 2019
This is the third book in the Over and Under series. I quite liked the first one, but the second one fell a bit flat for me. Over and Under the Pond falls somewhere in the middle.

I found this book to be a little more interesting than Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, possibly because there seemed to be a wider variety of creatures covered. We see everything from mink and moose to crayfish and tadpoles, and each one is illustrated in a bold, graphic style. I'm still not a fan of the illustrations, but I thought these were more like the ones in Over and Under the Snow, so I did like them a little more.

The endnotes about the different creatures encountered in the book are copious. Perhaps a little too copious (I found myself groaning when I saw how much I still had left to read). However, those endnotes are what would make this book--and its two companions--great to have in a classroom library. There's plenty to learn from these little stories, and a teacher could use these books as a jumping-off point for future explorations.
Profile Image for Katie.
372 reviews5 followers
June 26, 2022
Absolutely delightful stroll through pond life, and SO STOKED to see it's a series.
Profile Image for Kenya Wright.
Author 99 books2,211 followers
January 18, 2018
This was nominated for best children's books in 2017 Goodreads, so I wanted to check it out. I loved the illustrations. The diversity. The education of animals in the water and on land.

But even deeper, there was this sense that the author wanted the children to realize that life is happening above and under you. I thought that was cool.
Author 10 books39 followers
March 31, 2021
با اختلاف خیییلی زیاد، یکی از جالب‌ترین کتابهایی که اخیراً خوندم.
Profile Image for Amy.
3,501 reviews79 followers
January 23, 2018
If any organization should have this as part of their collection, it IS our library (Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library in Ohio), which has its entire Children's Department, from the base of the stairwell and going up the stairs and all throughout the second floor, designed and decorated to be like you are over and under a pond.

For years, we have had a turtle named Spike (the kids named HER) and she is the star of the show! She also has animal friends -- all of whom you would find in nature that help Spike promote our Children's Dept.

This book goes hand in hand with this department. The beautiful illustrations showcase the animals described by the author in this book. At the end of the book is a small section that provides a small paragraph of information about each animal in this book.

Profile Image for Cindy Dobrez.
708 reviews28 followers
February 5, 2017
I live on a "bayou" in Michigan with a similar ecosystem out in front of my house to the pond presented here and I see many of these "over" sights while I kayak. Others I see when I dive under while swimming, and some I have to imagine when I feel the nibbles on my toes while I am floating. It is great to have such a beautiful view of these scenes presented in Messner and Neal's collaboration in their Over and Under series. This one is a treasure, like the others. Young children will be fascinated and teachers can use this book in ecosystem units. I'm eager to go explore my "pond" more closely, but for the next few months, I'll have to stick to Over and Under the Snow!
Profile Image for Jenny.
2,719 reviews25 followers
November 8, 2017
I love this just as much as I did Over and Under the Snow. This book examines what you'll find over (or on the surface of) the pond as well as what you'll find under the pond. While the text is relatively short, it introduces a variety of animals and a few plants found in this wetland habitat. And the illustrations are simply wonderful!! At the end, additional information about ponds is provided, as well as further information about each animal and a list of sources for further information.
Profile Image for David Cluett.
92 reviews
October 20, 2019
Really enjoyed the continued comparison between the two worlds over and under the pond. Really great illustrations and effective descriptive language. Slightly simplistic story, more of a description of a journey. Lots of potential for wider learning about pond life and a great style of writing to learn from.
Profile Image for Katt Hansen.
3,424 reviews96 followers
November 27, 2017
A close look at the pond habitat, told through peaceful illustration. Don't ignore all the interesting facts at the end of the book! I really enjoyed this one, as did my children. This should be coupled with a trip to a pond or lake if possible. :)
Profile Image for Bridget.
1,214 reviews1 follower
January 2, 2021
Ender got this as a Christmas gift. Our friends thoughtfully chose it for us because 1. The people are a mom and son and 2. It focuses on the pond ecosystem and celebrates how interesting it is. I have always believed in stewardship of the environment, so this was a perfect choice for us. Another plus is that the people in the book are people of color. An excellent first book of the year!
Profile Image for Maxwell Rae.
187 reviews93 followers
February 13, 2018
Very informative read. I liked how there is an encyclopaedia in the back explaining all the animals mentioned.
Profile Image for Laura.
559 reviews89 followers
September 23, 2021
The Over and Under series is a fun concept, and I adore the illustrations. I do think that this is the strongest book in the series though with Over and Under the Rainforest close on it’s tail. The pictures and the text in this book seem to have the greatest variety of animals and it makes the story flow very well. This isn’t a small pond setting, it’s more like a very large lake. I recommend this book to children ages 4-7 years old.
Profile Image for SamZ.
817 reviews
July 28, 2018
So fun, and I loved the appendix with more info on all of the different animals!
April 23, 2018
Over and Under the Pond is an informational text on the ecosystem of pond life. This book is informational while also having a story and being story-like to students. A mother and son go out on a pond when the son starts asking questions and the mom starts telling him about the pond life. Many different animals and plants are addressed, even ones that you would not think of with a pond. The mom talks about something that is out of the water in the pond ecosystem and then something that is under the water. There is a pattern of the text in this book. This book is an interesting way to teach students about an ecosystem, but also have them reading a cute story. I would use this book with 3rd grade just because I feel like 4th and 5th would think this was too simple or little kid like, where 3rd graders could enjoy it and get information.
One way this book could be used in a class is by integrating into science and having students get information on ponds out of the book. Students could track the information, make a presentation, etc. to where they would be required to read the book and filter the information that they are learning about ponds. Another way this book could be used in a class is as a "everyone" book in a read aloud. The teacher could read it aloud, then offer to let students reread it to themselves since it is not a very complex book that students would struggle through. This would be a good book for struggling readers to pick up and read.
This was a WOW book for me because I always assume informational text is going to be something that is factual nonfiction and just teach me something, but this one was not. This was a story with information integrated into it that was enjoyable. Reminding students that informational text does not have to be boring or just lists of information is important.
Profile Image for Jan.
809 reviews28 followers
December 23, 2019
This book really spoke to me. It's about so many things I love and that are close to my heart. Long before we had Earth Day celebrations and recycled all our paper, metal, glass and plastic, or cared about genetically modified food, or knew about companies dumping their hazardous waste into our waterways, I was reading Silent Spring as a 7th grader in 1963 and checking out every book I could find on nature and ecology, (a word I had never heard of and just happened to find books on that subject by chance at the library). Flash forward a number of years to me in college and working on my teaching credential where I did my practicum with a 4th grade class. When it came time for me to teach the class for a week and develop all the lesson plans I naturally made sure everything was about nature and ecosystems and food chains. Lots of fun interactive stuff, especially when they played the food web and food chain game and got to run all around the classroom. So yes, protecting the earth and all her creatures has always been a big priority for me.

I adored this beautiful book with the mother and son taking a slow canoe trip around the pond where they marveled over the beauty and awesomeness of nature. I wanted to be on that canoe trip with them as they watched the circling osprey or noticed the beaver that had come to the surface with a mouth full of roots pulled from the pond bottom. I wanted to listen to the sound of the loons as they called goodnight. I loved how the mom was teaching her son about how everything above and below the pond was connected. And such gorgeous illustrations on every page. Just an absolutely beautifully done book.
Profile Image for Lydia.
48 reviews
October 15, 2019
I really love the illustrations and how we get a different perspective of the world around us : under the pond looking up towards the surface, and high up in the trees from the eyes of the birds.
Really simple pallet of colours use, which are very drawing to the human eye. Description of the different homes under the water and on land. Tadpoles are changing: introducing the cycle of life, which could be looked at in Science. All sentences start with either 'Over the pond' or 'Under the pond'. Descriptive writing, with all the adjectives would be a great example for children to look at to make their sentences more exciting and descriptive. The picture is really painted in the readers mind.
At the back of the picture book there is a fact file with all of different facts about all the animals that they come across whilst peddling over the pond. The colours from the background help the time of day change from morning to dusk, and changes not only the mood but the pace of the reading.
Would recommend to look at creative writing / descriptive writing. Story isn't that powerful in my opinion, I don't really think there is a story line.
Profile Image for Marie.
143 reviews44 followers
November 25, 2017
A gorgeously illustrated and beautifully written book about the animals over and under the pond upon which a mother and son canoe. There is much action of the animals observed by the pair that creates a quiet excitement for what they might see next. The pond ecosystem is explored in its entirety within this fun children’s book. At the end, a picture of each animal mentioned or illustrated is set next to a longer description of the animal. My children had a great time reading these informational pieces and then searching back through the book to find where each were illustrated. This is a highly recommended book for nature lovers to explore the pond ecosystem. It is a beautiful and informational read!
Profile Image for Nancy Kotkin.
1,402 reviews19 followers
May 3, 2019
While a mother and son float on a pond in a rowboat, they observe all the flora and fauna around then, interspersed with glimpses of the flora and fauna underneath the pond's surface. I wish the illustrations were more realistic in keeping with the subject matter. All the fish, birds, and other animals are described further in the back matter, which stretches across six pages. Information contained in the back matter is highly interesting and well written. Resources are also included in the back matter.
Profile Image for Amy Layton.
1,641 reviews52 followers
January 30, 2019
Over and Under the Pond is an educational book about what types of creatures live in a pond's ecosystem.  There are fish, eels, crawdads, birds--not to mention a boy and his mother!  Paired with beautiful, blue-tinted illustrations, this book is great for learning repetitive sentences, for learning animals, and for simply appreciating the environment nearby!  Great for grades K-3.  

Review cross-listed here!
Profile Image for Alice Bennett.
386 reviews11 followers
October 16, 2020
A book that takes you on a calming journey around a pond, looking at all the different animals and beautiful things to see. The descriptive language in this makes it a great model for a writing lesson and I would draw the children's attention to the different sounds in the text. We could use musical instruments to recreate these and produce ocean-themed pieces. The book also has lots of positional language which would aid learning in maths.
Profile Image for Jana.
2,591 reviews37 followers
March 28, 2017
This nonfiction picture book is a great follow-up to Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. Simple, engaging text and beautifully rendered mixed media illustrations make this a fun row across a summertime pond with a mother and her child. As the two glide over the water, the youngster wants to know what's going on underneath the boat. The child, and readers, are treated to explanations of the busy world of swimming minnows, painted turtles, otters, and many other fascinating creatures. The author includes more detailed information about each animal at the end of the book and a nice list of books and websites, making this resource a great starting point for further research.
Profile Image for Erin Buhr.
Author 5 books34 followers
April 21, 2017
I have eagerly anticipating this, the third book in the over/under books by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal and it did not disappoint. In this one, a mom and her son are canoeing on a pond together. The little boy wonders what is under the pond and his mom tells him there is "a whole hidden world" under there. Messner and Neal paint that world with soft, lyrical strokes. As the mother and son paddle along watching the world above the pond, animals dart and dive and claw under the pond below them. This is a story filled with gentle action, fascinating animals, and warm moments between mother and son. It brought me back to canoeing on lakes in Northern Wisconsin as a child. I love that additional information and resources about the animals mentioned are included in the back because I frequently found myself wishing for more details. Most of all I love that this book is as delightful as the first two. It is yet another brilliant, relate-able look at nature, animals, and the world around and below us.
Profile Image for MaryJo.
144 reviews
November 29, 2019
Thank goodness we have woken up enough that a book about nature being shared with a mother, yes a female!, and her son, both being “of color” is on the shelves of our libraries. That it is also beautifully written, poetic, and full of information in a most appealing way, adds to my gratitude. And makes me want to get out in a boat and explore over and under a pond. I will be reading more of Kate Messner.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 391 reviews

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