The Pond Year
Digital version – browse, print or download
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This month BfK features Jane Ray’s cover for The Twelve Dancing Princesses. We’re particularly delighted to have the opportunity to use this illustration as it enables us to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Orchard Books - they’re 10 this year! And also to thank them for their help in producing our July cover.
I'm in two minds about this book. It's certainly a beautiful one. It tells of a year in the life of a large pond and the creatures that live there, with illustrations that are lovely, accurate and pleasingly watery. The little girl who narrates the story from her observations and play at the pond is full of interest in the wildlife and full of care for the lush, rich environment she's watching. In all these respects, this is a valuable and accessible nature book. However, the pond described is so far removed from the tiny ponds most junior children will know of in their school grounds, hanging on desperately to life despite vandals, dogs, rubbish and spawn stealers, that I wonder if Pond Year is the best book for such circumstances. No one could wade into most of the school ponds I know of and the scum that settles on them isn't a rich, nourishing environment but is instead the wretched blanket weed that chokes everything in the water. We're more likely to want to prevent our children from scooping out the creatures and from sliding on the ice than to encourage them. A rich, natural and well-established pond is one thing, but point out to your children the need for different treatment of the pond in the corner of the playing field... or you'll lose it.