“A loving portrayal of a never-forgotten connection with the natural world.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“It’s a powerful vision of making one’s own wild place, with no special equipment or expenditure required.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
The joy of the seasons, the wonder of discovery, and the appreciation and respect for the natural world is at the heart of this book, drawn from the childhood of award-winning illustrator Jim LaMarche.
When Matt is out for a late winter hike he sees a trickle of water in the old deserted and junk filled dirt pit at the edge of his neighborhood. With quiet appreciation, Matt can imagine the pond that must once have been there, shining in the early spring light, freezing in the winter for skating and the perfect place for swimming in the summer.
Can Matt’s discovery transform a forgotten pond to its natural wonder? With his idea of making the pond whole again, Matt rallies his friends, Katie and Pablo, and together they work through the spring, clearing debris, moving rocks to hold the water, and looking for leaks. But would there be enough water to fill the pond? Can they bring the pond back?
Stories about nature often feature disappearing wildlife and dwindling habitats, but LaMarche (Winter Is Coming) shows how nature can rebound. Matt realizes that the little spring bubbling up through a trash pile near his house might once have been a pond. He asks his friends Katie and Pablo to help him clean it up and dam the flow. As water begins to pool up behind their homemade dam, birds and animals appear. Canada geese used to pass overhead in the fall, but now "hundreds of them would fly down and rest on our pond." In LaMarche's spreads, the children Matt and Katie are white, and Pablo appears to be Latino are often viewed from a distance enjoying the paradise they've made, drifting on the water in a wooden dinghy, camping with Matt's father in the fall, and skating in the winter. The combination of children, water, trees, and birds offers many scenes of richness and wonder, and LaMarche's detailed artwork captures it in sharp focus. It's a powerful vision of making one's own wild place, with no special equipment or expenditure required. Ages 4 8.