Author/Illustrator: Paula Fox / Karla Kuskin
Publisher/Date: Front Street / 2008
Genre/Audience: poetry / Age 7+
Themes: poetry, senses, nature, fossils, tracks, discovery, science
Opening: Something, someone was just here. Now there's barely a trace of it in the lily pond, only bubbles of water and air. Plump, wattled, warty, croaking... [next page] is the bullfrog that left traces in the lily pond.
Synopsis: From Goodreads.com: This lyric poem by one
of our most revered writers captures those faint glimpses of things that
you see but don't quite recognize, sounds you can almost hear, smells,
tastes, feelings that can't quite name. Each line of the poem and each
picture in the book depicts the sensual essence of a child's day, each
of which are totally typical and thoroughly unique.
Why I Love This Book: This book encourages close observation and deductive reasoning. It would pair nicely with early science units that teach the scientific method, the use of a magnifying glass, and keeping a science notebook. As a third grade teacher, I would have used this again and again throughout the school year before our trips out on the nature trail. The repetition of "Something, someone was just here. Now there's barely a trace of it..." keeps the mystery alive, the curiosity peaked, and it makes for a great science writing prompt!
Take a notebook out in the woods. List all the clues you find that suggest certain animals, plants, weather... Hypothesize what could have caused that scratch mark on the tree trunk, that nibbled acorn, that blown-over tree.
Writing prompt: Use the book's repetitive phrase: "Something, someone was just here. Now there's barely a trace of it..." after a nature walk.
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