Turtle Splash!: Countdown at the Pond

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It's a peaceful day at
the pond as ten timid
turtles bask in the sun.
But wait!
A bullfrog leaps, a
rabbit rustles, deer
appear, a chickadee
chirps, and
by one
the turtles dive
into the water.

As they are startled by the activities of other nearby creatures, the number of turtles on a log in a pond decreases from ten to one. Includes factual information about the animals mentioned in the story.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Falwell's (Where's Nicky?) combination of counting book and nature tale, in an idyllic pond setting, begins with "Ten timid turtles, lounging in a line." These attractive Eastern Painted Turtles (identified at story's end), with sweetly placid eyes, intricate stripes and loops of yellow and orange on their shells and bodies, appear on every spread but decrease in number with each turn of the page. Various creatures send them scuttling for cover off their log, one by one, and into the variegated blueness of the pond. First, a plump emerald bullfrog in flight reduces the group to nine; several pages later, the fluttering presence of a burnished brown butterfly knocks the number down to three. Into each spread, Falwell tucks a clue as to the next offender: in one, it's a fawn's spotted back, in another the feather of a chickadee floats on the pond's surface. After all 10 turtles make their exits, they reconvene on the pond floor to "settle for the night." Working in collages of papers, birch bark and leaf prints, Falwell makes every aqua-hued spread come alive with texture, both visually and ecologically. The final spreads provide succinct profiles of the pond inhabitants that appear in the story and explain how to make the same leaf prints that Falwell uses so effectively. This lush volume is sure to make a splash. Ages 3-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
In brief, lyrical verses, the number of turtles counts down from ten to one as night falls on the pond. Other pond creatures make appearances, but what really sets this counting book apart is the imaginative page design. Cut paper collages combine with leaf prints to produce attractive variations on the turtle theme. Anatomically correct, the various creatures, which appear on the long double pages, are set against backgrounds that progress from dawn to nightfall, where the use of colors and cut papers stimulate emotions. Facts about pond life and instructions about how to make leaf prints are included. 2001, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, $15.95. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-"Ten/timid turtles,/lounging/in a line./Startled by/a bullfrog-/Then there/are nine." This lovely countdown features Eastern Painted Turtles and various insects, birds, and mammals sharing a pond habitat. As each new creature appears on the scene, one more turtle jumps off the log and into the water. Eventually, the blue sky of day gives way to rose and purple shades and all 10 tired turtles are underwater to "settle for the night." The familiar counting scheme plays out in beautifully constructed collage scenes. Many of the animals are quite realistic; some are less detailed. Birch bark and leaf prints add realism to the lush growth surrounding the melded blues and greens of the water. A white panel on either side of the double-page view contains a large blue numeral, the verse, and trailing bits of picture to soften the contrast. The pleasing glimpses of the shy turtles and their neighbors end with a satisfying recapping of the count in a night view lit with fireflies. Three final pages augment the pond visit with information on the behavior of each animal and brief instructions for making leaf prints. This is pleasing fare for reading aloud at bedtime, or anytime, and offers an inviting early nature lesson.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
With an implied "splash," another green-shelled turtle disappears from the scene in this pond-life counting rhyme. Beginning with ten turtles sunning themselves on a log, each is surprised by a different animal and plops into the water. "Ten / timid turtles, / lounging / in a line. / Startled by / a bullfrog . . . / Then there / are nine." Readers can spot the animal that will startle a turtle next by studying the pictures on each page and finding the hidden creature. Falwell (It's About Time, 1999, etc.) uses collages made from a variety of materials (explained in an author's note) as well as leaf prints for added texture. Thoughtfully, she has included a section with instructions for the craft. In some spots the predominant colors of blue, green, and brown have a tendency to blend together and wash each other out, but the leaf prints add a nice contrast and give a sense of realism to the pictures. Because the illustrations need to be looked at closely, this might be best when shared one on one-though it's attractive just as a read-aloud. Young children will like searching for the hidden clues and will eagerly add up the turtles on each page. Older ones will find in the appendix an opportunity to learn how the ducks, deer, mosquitoes, bullfrogs, and other animals live in this eco-system. A lovely example of multidisciplinary bookmaking showing how science, art, and literature can all connect. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060294632
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Cathryn Falwell grows vegetables and mystery vines in her garden next to Frog Song Pond in Maine. The pond and its creatures have been featured in the books Turtle Splash! and Scoot!, also published by Greenwillow Books.

Cathryn Falwell grows vegetables and mystery vines in her garden next to Frog Song Pond in Maine. The pond and its creatures have been featured in the books Turtle Splash! and Scoot!, also published by Greenwillow Books.

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