Friday, August 16, 2019

Review - Pond

by Jim LaMarche
Date: 2016
Publisher: Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: hardcover
Source: library

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. Matt imagines 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.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a simple, gentle story about three children who restore a pond to its former natural state. Written and illustrated by Jim LaMarche, it offers some beautiful imagery to go along with its environmental message.

Although the overall look of the book is soft and dreamy, this isn't one of my favourite LaMarche titles. The illustrations are actually rather hit-or-miss for me. Most are fairly distant perspectives, showing people at a distance or in full-body poses. The exception, however, is one beautiful spread that features closeups of the three children's faces, and it's absolutely gorgeous; the expressions are priceless. I'd say the book is worth taking a look at for that illustration alone. Unfortunately, there's really only the one "wow" moment here, so I was somewhat disappointed.

The story itself is very basic. The children remove junk, get the water moving in the right direction again, find a boat, and share their discovery with animals and humans alike. The bit about the heart stone is cute, but I'm not sure it's really enough to save the otherwise threadbare story.

Overall, this isn't one of LaMarche's better works. I think I enjoyed all of the other titles he's written and/or illustrated more than this one. Still, if you're a fan of his work, you'll still want to check this one out. It's still a decent picture book; it just pales in comparison to some of his others.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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