nonfiction nuggets…ponds and puzzles

Looking Closely Around the Pond — by Frank Serafini

Look very closely at this photo:

What do you think it is?  Are we peeking at the wing of a butterfly?  Is it a knobbly seashell?  What could it be? 

Ah…it’s a box turtle’s beautifully designed shell. 

There are nine close-up photos to puzzle over in this delightful book for young naturalists.  For each one, we start with a peek-a-boo hole on a black page, and looking through we see a magnified, close up view of a plant or animal who lives at the pond.  There are some suggestions as to what it might be.  But it’s up to us to try to guess what it really is.  Then, we turn the page, and…

ta da!  There is the entire photograph, identified for us, followed by a nice paragraph of information.  For example, we learn what box turtles eat, how they hibernate, what they do when they’re scared, and find out the scoop on their swimming abilities.   

This is a great concept for young children because it’s just such fun to look closely, make your guess, and turn the page.  At the same time, a child’s attention is drawn to observe carefully the natural world, to notice the patterns and colors and shapes that can be too easily passed over.  All this, plus learning some interesting facts about common plants and animals they might actually see, if a pond is anywhere near you.  If not, there are several other books in this series, including The Shore, The Desert, The Forest, and The Garden.   Great summer time reading, especially if your summer travels will take you near a new ecosystem to explore.

Here’s the Amazon link: Looking Closely around the Pond