Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond

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Old MacDonald had a . . . pond? Yes! Come along with Jo, Old MacDonald's granddaughter, and learn about the wild creatures at the pond. You'll find fish, frogs, ducks - and a few surprises. This delightful variation on "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" playfully introduces youngsters to the concept of ecosystems. Author Mary Quattlebaum engages little ones with rhythm, repetition, wordplay, and onomatopoeia and illustrator Laura Bryant charms them with lively watercolors of a pond ...

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Old MacDonald had a . . . pond? Yes! Come along with Jo, Old MacDonald's granddaughter, and learn about the wild creatures at the pond. You'll find fish, frogs, ducks - and a few surprises. This delightful variation on "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" playfully introduces youngsters to the concept of ecosystems. Author Mary Quattlebaum engages little ones with rhythm, repetition, wordplay, and onomatopoeia and illustrator Laura Bryant charms them with lively watercolors of a pond community.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
Every once in awhile, a picture book is the perfect marriage of text and art; the art, design, and layout of this new vision of the familiar childhood song is a lovely example. Observant readers will be clued-in from the front cover that there are a lot of things to watch for as the pages reveal Jo's afternoon at the pond. Prepared with her sketchbook, she is seen dashing down to the pond on the double-page spread with the bibliographic information. Beginning with reeds that "swish-swish here" (and "there"), the reader is treated to the appearance of the pond's inhabitants one by one, as they are spotted and then drawn by Jo, who is obviously fascinated by nature. The text is full of wonderfully descriptive sounds that match each animal—children will love to echo the "scree-scree" of the red-winged blackbird, "chat-chat" of the raccoon, "flick-flick" of the white-tailed deer, and the "whir-whir" of the dragonfly that flits across the beautiful watercolors. Bryant's visual additions expand the storyline by revealing Jo's experiences as the story-song progresses, allowing the reader to make many "hidden" discoveries and immerse themselves in the pond microcosm. Readers will anticipate and predict which creature will be introduced next; even younger readers can be encouraged to do so. Here, Bryant is simply brilliant with the small glimpses that she "sneaks" onto the right-hand page, creating giddy drama as the page is turned to spotlight a specific animal. My favorite spread shows a close call for the dragonfly—there are fish in MacDonald's pond! Topping off all of this charm is an activity in the back which encourages readers to match fabulous sounds to their makers. Backmatter also includes other activities for children of different ages, as well as an educational section that discusses the "Pond Community." Lists of books and websites are also included to round out this valuable contribution to classrooms, libraries, and homes. This book is perfect for sharing nature (science and ecology) with children in a "most natural" way. It is positively perfect for read aloud sessions and a delight to share with a youngster one-on-one. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan
Kirkus Reviews

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. (Picture book. 3-8)

School Library Journal
PreS-K—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." However, the inclusion of raccoon and dragonfly make the rhyme feel a bit forced. 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.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584691501
  • Publisher: Dawn Publications
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Series: Jo MacDonald Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 982,137
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Mom's Choice Awards Recipient!

    Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS's Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, and New York Times best-selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    Did you know "Old MacDonald" had a granddaughter?

    Did you know that Old MacDonald, who "had a farm," also had a granddaughter? When Jo MacDonald visits her grandfather's farm, she sees a pond, "E-I-E-I-O." What does she find there? She hears cattail reeds swishing, bluegill fish blurping, a bullfrog croaking, mallard ducks quacking, a red-winged blackbird screeing, a raccoon chatting, a white-tailed deer flicking its tail, and a green darner dragonfly whirring. Can you guess what one of the fish might try to do when it sees the dragonfly?

    The classic children's song "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" has helped generations of children learn about animals on a farm. Now his granddaughter, Jo MacDonald, uses the same tune to encourage youngsters to discover all the interesting plants and animals around the farm's pond. Author Mary Quattlebaum grew up in the country surrounded by woods, fields, and a pond just like Jo MacDonald's. Her text will engage little ones' ears with rhythm, repetition, wordplay, and onomatopoeia, and illustrator Laura Bryant's lively watercolors of the pond community, along with Jo, the plants, and the animals, will charm their eyes.

    From an educational standpoint, the book introduces the concept of ecosystems. Endnotes feature a color and matching activity, further information about the plants and animals in the pond ecosystem, resources on how to learn more about ponds, and suggestions for becoming a naturalist like Jo. More downloadable indoor and outdoor activities for children using this book may be found at the publisher's website. Children are very curious about the natural world, so they're invited to come along with Jo MacDonald, and Grandpa, to learn about the wild creatures at the pond on the farm, including fish, frogs, ducks, and a few surprises too!

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