October 05, 2018

At the Pond

Written and illustrated by Werner Zimmermann
North Winds Press (Scholastic Canada)
32 pp.
Ages 2-5
September 2018

On Wednesday, At the Pond became a nominee for a Governor General's Literature Award for Children's Book Illustration and today I want to share why this superb book of art is a worthy contender.
From At the Pond by Werner Zimmermann
At the Pond is a counting book at its simplest. One fish...two fish...and upwards to ten. But At the Pond is more art book than concept book. It is a compendium of beautifully rendered paintings that take the reader to see a pond up close and very personal. Every double spread is an opus of the natural world in colour and shape. The depth of realism that reflects the pond's life, botanical and zoological, is dramatic and intimate. From the goldfish to the water lilies, leopard frogs, insects that include water striders and dragonflies, and the great blue heron from whom the pond life scatters, At the Pond is a literary pond study for those for whom ponds are not readily accessible and even for those fortunate to have them in their backyards.
From At the Pond by Werner Zimmermann
Werner Zimmermann blends green and blue watercolour pigments to give life to the pond's water. There's a dynamic component to essentially still waters–ponds are after all defined as bodies of standing water–that comes from the strokes of his brushes and blending of tones, tints and shades. There are seemingly hundreds of greens in Werner Zimmermann's pond. Moreover, his depiction of the living components in the pond are natural and accurate and filled with life. (Watch the flowering of the water lily for evidence of this.)
From At the Pond by Werner Zimmermann
Teachers may well use At the Pond for counting or for STEM lessons, but for me, it's a study in extraordinary art of the natural world, bringing the outdoors in and sharing a glimpse of life At the Pond.

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