This is the 2006 winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award:
Sidman, Joyce. 2005. Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Here is a Digital Trailer for SONG OF THE WATER BOATMAN created by graduate student Bonnie Sherrod.
Here is a Readers' Guide for SONG OF THE WATER BOATMAN AND OTHER POND POEMS created by graduate student ChanHee Grace Sung.
Recommended age levels 7-10 (My personal recommendation is all ages!)
The good, the bad, the ugly, the big, and even the miniscule!
This collection of poems celebrates the abundance of life within a small pond.
From the large heron to the microscopic water bear, each poem carries their life and personality.
In a world where one thinks “majestic”, they think of skyscrapers and grand mountains, the poems in Song of the Water Boatman brings you in; into the magnificence of even things you cannot see in plain sight. Each poem is full of images and thoughtful purposeful words.
Here you will read in the voices of the plants, bugs and animals that habitat a pond, as the seasons change. Joyce Sidman creates poems with deep understanding and care for each pond subject that even the bugs are charming and interesting. There is a mini introduction or mini guide of each poem topic beside the poem. The introductions are as intriguing and colorful as the poems itself. The poems are immersed in the illustration which brings the readers into the life of the beautiful illustrations. The illustrations are hand colored woodcuts by Beckie Prange.
2. Review Excerpts/Awards
Best Books Lists
Best Children's Books of the Year, 2005
Booklist Book Review Stars , Mar. 15, 2005
Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth, 2005
Booklist Top 10 Sci-Tech Books for Youth, 2005
Bulletin Blue Ribbons, 2005
Capitol Choices, 2006
Children's Books 2005: One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing, 2005
Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006
Children's Editor's Choice, 2005 Kirkus Reviews
Choices, 2006 ; Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Horn Book Fanfare, 2005 ; Horn Book
Kirkus Best Children's Books , 2005
Kirkus Book Review Stars, April 1, 2005
Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts, 2006 ; NCTE Children's Literature Assembly
Notable Children's Books, 2006 ; ALSC American Library Association
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, 2006 ; National Science Teachers Association
Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books, 2005 ; Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, March 28, 2005
School Library Journal Best Books, 2005
School Library Journal Book Review Stars, July 2005
Awards, Honors, Prizes
Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, 2006 Winner
Minnesota Book Awards, 2006 Finalist Children's Picture Book
Mitten Award, 2005 Finalist Non-Fiction
Randolph Caldecott Medal, 2006 Honor Book
State and Provincial Reading Lists
Beehive Award, 2007 ; Nominee; Poetry; Utah
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award, 2006-2007
Garden State Children's Book Award, 2008 ; Nominee; Non Fiction
Great Lakes Great Books Award, 2006-2007 ; Nominee; Grades 2-3
Maine Student Book Award, 2006-2007 ; Nominee
Gillian Engberg (Booklist, Mar. 15, 2005 (Vol. 101, No. 14) "
In this strikingly illustrated collection, science facts combine with vivid poems about pond life through the seasons. Focusing on one pond creature or plant per spread, Sidman employs many poetic forms, including austere haikus and rollicking sea shanties, and her fine selections are both accessible and sophisticated. Younger children may need help with the science allusions, although accompanying prose paragraphs will give some background; many poems integrate the science beautifully, particularly a marching, cumulative selection about the pond web of life. Some poems burst with sweet, joyful noise, such as the sounds of a duck family's first spring swim: "Peek, peek, / water sparkling! / Deep breath, / leaping, leaping. / Splash down." Others bring haunting immediacy to abstract concepts such as hibernation: "No more bugs / and basking. Last breath, last sight / of light and down I go, into the mud," says a turtle.
Throughout, plants and animals come alive in the bold woodcut prints, reminiscent of Mary Azarian's work, which are hand-colored in watery blues and lily-pad green. A glossary of science terms closes this elegant, inspiring volume, which teachers will use across the curriculum." Category: Books for Middle Readers--Nonfiction. 2005, Houghton, $16. Gr. 3-5. Starred Review
CBC Reviewer (National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) "
It’s rare that a book of poetry is so accurate and so completely scientific that it merits a place on the NSTA/CBC award list. Through verse, this volume brings to life many of the organisms found in a pond. The poetry is supported by additional text and colorful illustrations as well as a glossary. Teachers will love reading this book aloud to students at almost any level. Students will return to read these poems again and again, coming away with a greater appreciation of the beauty, complexity, and wonder of life in a pond." Grades K-4. Keywords: Microbiology, Microworlds, Marine Science, Zoology, * Outstanding Science Trade Book *. 2005, Houghton Mifflin Company, 32p, $16. Ages 5 to 10.
3. Questions to ask before reading
What is a pond?
What is in a pond?
Tell the children the water boatman is on the cover.
Where is it?
How is his body similar to a boat?
Talk about the seasons and how seasons can affect the ponds.
4. Suggestions for reading poems aloud
“Listen for Me” – Ask for 6 volunteers to recite one paragraph. They are easy to read, and the words are melodic because one word of the stanza is used at the end again and again.
“Spring Splashdown”- If you have a younger group, this poem is a great poem to do “I say then you say.” First, recite the poem slowly for the children to hear. Then, have the children participate; when the word is repeated point to the children to repeat the last word. It can be very engaging.
“Diving Beetle’s Food-Sharing Rules” – this is another great poem for young children. First, recite the poem slowly for the children to hear. Then, pause and point when you want the children to say “mine!"
“In the Depths of the Summer Pond”- This is like the poem, “I know an old lady who swallowed a fly”, it is a food chain poem. Divide the class into 6 groups. Recite the first stanza. Have the first group say the new sentence, then have the first group and yourself say the first main stanza. Then have the second group recite the new sentence then have groups 1 and 2 and yourself say the remaining stanza, then add the next group and so forth.
5. Follow-up activities
Make a class mural of the poem “In the Depths of the Summer Pond.” [art]
Act out the poem “In the Depths of the Summer Pond”, have the students make their own costumes and scenes. [theatre]
Visit a local pond and ask the students to write a poem about a pond creature they observe or see. Try writing a poem that visually looks like the topic like, “Aquatic Fashion.” Take pictures to have a class record/scrapbook! [writing/field trip]
Discuss the many special ways pond creatures adapt and change, to survive. [science]
6. Related websites/blogs
Joyce Sidman Website
Growing With Science Blog [scientific exploration blog]
Handbook of Nature Study [nature blog]
BioKids [critter catalog]
Short Poems – Marinela Reka. com [Poetry for kids, by a kid]
7. Related books (other poetry, related nonfiction, related fiction)
Poetry (Other books by Joyce Sidman about creatures of a specific environment)
Sidman, Joyce. 2006. Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow. Ill. by Beth Krommes.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Sidman, Joyce. 2010. Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night. Ill. by Rick Allen. Boston:
Other Nature Poetry
Ryder, Joanne. 1997. Pondwater Faces. Ill. by Susan Ford. California: Chronicle Books
Cyrus, Kurt. 2001. Oddhopper Opera: A Bug’s Garden of Verses. California: Harcourt Brace.
Ross, Michael Elsohn. 2000. Pond Watching with Anne Morgan. Ill. by Wendy Smith.
Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books.
Kallen, Stuart A. 2004. Life in a Pond. California: Kidhaven Press.
Simon, Seymour. 2000. Out of Sight: Pictures of Hidden Worlds. New York: SeaStar Books.
Collard III, Sneed B. 2005. One Night in the Coral Sea. Ill. by Robin Brickman. Massachusetts:
Charlesbridge. [life within a coral reef]
Wiesner, David. 2006. Flotsam. New York: Clarion Books. [Picturebook of waterlife]
Rinehart, Susie Caldwell. 2004. Eliza and the DragonFly. Ill. by Anisa Calire Hovemann.
California: Dawn Publications. [Eliza and pond creatures]
Lechner, John. 2005. A Froggy Fable. Massechusetts: Candlewick Press. [Disgruntled frog who leaves and then comes back to his pond]