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|Author: Mary Quattlebaum
Illustrator: Laura J. Bryant
Retail Price: Paperback • $8.95 | Hardback • $16.95 | Board Book • $7.95
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- 2013 Izaak Walton League Book of the Year Award
- 2012 Purple Dragon Book Award – 1st Place (Children’s Picture Book – Ages 5-)
- 2011 NAPPA Gold Award (Books Category)
(National Assoc. of Parenting Publications of America)
- 2011 Mom’s Choice Gold Award (Children’s Picture Book Category)
“A sing-along inspired by the sights and sounds of a pond.
When Jo visits her grandfather’s farm, she observes the plants and animals she finds by the pond, sketching them so she can share them with Old MacDonald later. She first notices the reeds, and the sound they make: “Jo MacDonald saw a pond, / E-I-E-I-O. / And in that pond she saw some reeds, / E-I-E-I-O. / With a swish-swish here.” The familiar tune starts on page one and never misses a beat, begging kids to participate. Indeed, the rollicking atmosphere during a sharing of this book will likely be in marked contrast to what is happening inside it. As Jo settles in to watch, her quietness and stillness pay off as some animals gradually emerge: fish, frogs, ducks, a bird, a few coons, some deer and a dragonfly. Backmatter includes Jo’s final sketch (delightfully childlike) as well a paragraph about each animal, a list of books about ponds and some activities that can help youngsters be a naturalist like Jo. Observant readers will notice the clever design of the illustrations that hides the last-mentioned animal and the next one within the spread. Bryant’s softly colored watercolor creatures echo Jo’s rosy-cheeked childhood innocence and have just a touch of expression in their faces.
Sure to inspire a rousing storytime, this is also likely to encourage readers to explore the world around them.”
— Kirkus Reviews (August 1, 2011)
“Old MacDonald’s granddaughter, Jo, discovers a quiet pond on the farm, thereby bringing a new ecosystem to today’s readers within the familiar framework of a song they know and love. With notebook in hand, Jo draws each animal she spies as the pond community comes to life with a “blurp-blurp here” and a “scree-scree there.” When a largemouth bass leaps to catch a whirring dragonfly (but fortunately misses), he makes a huge splash that scatters the animals, and the pond is once again quiet. Young children will chime in at singing the tune as they enjoy the onomatapoeia and meet eight pond inhabitants. Bryant’s appealing, soft-flowing watercolors offer clues as to what animal comes next and are great for encouraging predictions. Back matter includes Jo’s drawings, an activity for kids to match sounds to animals, information on the flora and fauna, and ideas about how to become a naturalist like Jo.”
— Booklist (American Library Assn.) (November 1, 2011)
“In this inventive twist on “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” Jo visits a nearby pond with her sketch pad and observes reeds, bullfrogs, raccoons, deer, blackbirds, and fish. The rhyming lyrics are in sync with the story/song and emulate it almost perfectly. For example, when the child discovers the raccoon, the text sings: “With a chat-chat here/And a chat-chat there./Here a chat, there a chat,/Everywhere a chat-chat/Jo MacDonald saw a raccoon, E-I-E-I-O.” . . . The spreads are done in breezy hues of watercolors, with plenty of white space accentuating life on and around the pond. The final one encourages children to match pictures of the animals with the sounds they make. Back matter describes the pond community and shares some “Citizen-Scientist” websites. Although an additional purchase, this title would work one-on-one or for sharing with a group.”
— School Library Journal (November 2011)