I recently read the poetry collection Song of the Water Boatman: & Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange. It has garnered the following long list of awards:
2006 Caldecott Honor Book2006 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award
2005 Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
2006 NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children
2005 Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year
2005 Booklist Editors' Choice
2005 Booklinks Lasting Connections Selection
2005 Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books — Blue Ribbon Winner
2005 Horn Book Fanfare Selection
2006 Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts
And if you find this book and read it, you will understand that each award is well deserved.
The book, with gorgeous page and a half, color-filled, woodcut illustrations takes us on a journey of poetry along with science, from blooming spring through to winter snow. Each double spread includes the poem along with a side bar of factual information that tells more about the subject. You will meet the creatures In the Depths of the Summer Pond, where we are reminded of the childhood rhyme "This Is The House That Jack Built", and the caddis fly's unusual way of dressing in Aquatic Fashion. The four seasons of cattails are described so beautifully in The Season's Campaign by reading "slim, waving arrows" and "brown bones rattle in the wind." Learning about fledgling wood ducks leaving the nest will provide such a chuckle when reading Splash Down: "Scramble, scramble./Hop, hop,/ teeter, teeter."
Song of the Water Boatman: & Other Pond Poems also includes a glossary to help understand the facts about the special flora and fauna of the pond. I can see using this book over and over for the pure joy of seeing someone's beautiful creations, and the excellent way of using non-fiction in poetry. If you have missed it, as I had, please find a copy and savor it!