This entry should definitely be a winner. The writing is excellent, the illustrations are engaging, it has many uses and youngsters will thoroughly enjoy it as well as benefiting educationally. Additionally, after the story has concluded, there is a page of facts about dragonflies and an annotated listing of print and online resources. This book would be a very welcome addition to any classroom. . . . It is an excellent resource for environmental education and nature awareness.
— 2005 Learning Magazine Teacher’s Choice Award panel comments (October 2004)
A small but nonetheless awful green creature swims out of Aunt Doris’s boot. “Eeeeewwww,” is Eliza’s comment. “MAGNIFICENT!” is Aunt Doris’s reply. With this kind of gusto, Eliza’s down-to-earth (and down-to-water) aunt strolls, wades, rows, or simply falls into the pond to share with Eliza the delights of entomology. Eliza’s discovery is not so much about insect life cycles as about faith in nature, about waiting patiently for the magic of growing up.
Watching a host of dragonflies crisscrossing the air above the pond, Eliza makes a wish on each one. “I wish I could fly as fast as a dragonfly. I wish I could ride my bike anywhere I wanted. I wish It didn’t take so long to grow up.” Then she discovers the young form of the dragonfly, known as a nymph – the awful green creature from Aunt Doris’s boot – beneath the surface. Every day after school, Eliza and her friends go to the pond to visit the nymph. they draw pictures of it, play music for it, speak Spanish to it . . . and dream their own dreams of metamorphosis about it.
The author, a Vermont-based writer and teacher with degrees in English and science, easily weaves details of dragonfly physiology – such as the long, retractable lower lip with hooks on the end for catching passing insects (eeeeewwww) – into Eliza’s story. The illustrator has chosen the perfect medium for depicting this wetlands tale: watercolors whose soft, blurry edges echo not only the refraction of light through the pond but the gradual subtlety of nature’s transformations, as well. Two pages of resource information follow the story, with technical facts about dragonflies, illustrations that are more sharply defined, and suggestions for further reading in books and online.
“Where are its wings?” Eliza worries about the young insect. “When will it know how to fly?” Aunt Doris reassures, “A dragonfly nymph doesn’t worry about when it will grow up. . . It doesn’t with it could fly or be more beautiful than it already is. It just mucks about in the pond, being itself. Then it wakes up one morning with wings.” And so it does – and so, the reader knows, will Eliza.
— ForeWord Magazine – Bonnie Deight (Fall 2004)
The best kind of learning takes place on the edge between science and art, according to author Susie Caldwell Rinehart. Her collaboration with artist Anisa Claire Hovemann has resulted in this elegant story about three children who follow a dragonfly from its nymph stage – in which it has no wings – until it reaches maturity as a fully developed dragonfly. The book is designed for children ages 4 to 10. Hovemann’s dreamy illustrations make the world of bugs look beautiful. A facts-and-resources section at the end of the 29-page book help make it a good choice for parents and teachers. Stock it together with Do Animals Have Feelings Too? and other books in Dawn Publications’ series of books designed to raise children’s awareness of nature.
— New Age Retailer (September 2004)
When a dragonfly lands on Eliza’s toothbrush, she and her Aunt Doris, an entomologist, release it at a nearby pond. It is here they discover a green dragonfly nymph in the pond. Eliza’s first reaction is “ewwwwwww,” but when Aunt Doris only replies with “Magnificent,” and tells her more about dragonflies, Eliza soon changes her tune. She names the nymph Horace and visits him every day after school. She draws him and talks to him. Her friends Carlos and Annie teach him Spanish and play music to him as they wait for him to hatch.
Along the way, we learn interesting facts about dragonflies. For example, “Horace has a gift: a lower lip, five times the size of his head with giant hooks on the end. It tucks away neatly until a small insect swims by. Then it’s dinnertime!”
Then one day, Eliza and her friends get to see what they’ve all been waiting for: Horace hatches into a beautiful green dragonfly.
Through this engaging story, Rinehart teaches children about the lifecycle of a dragonfly and helps them develop an appreciation for insects and nature’s creatures. You’re never overwhelmed with facts, and kids may not even realize they’re learning. Anisa Claire Hovemann’s soft watercolor illustrations resemble ripples in a pond and set the tone for a warmhearted story.
The back of the book includes more information about the lifecyle of a dragonfly and a list of resources to learn more about dragonflies. It may even inspire some young explorers to go out and discover what’s hiding in their backyard.
This would make a real nice read for kids, especially ones who are interested in dragonflies, insects and nature.
— The Well-Read Child – Jill Tullo (January 2008)
With bright green eyes and a bottom lip five times the size of his head, Horace is a spectacle indeed. But that never stops him from modeling for Eliza, dancing for Annie, or taking Spanish lessons from Carlos. Horace is a dragonfly nymph, and there is much he can do … except fly. As the children marvel over his transformation (Horace loves an audience), their winged friend emerges from the shallows of a pond, slips out of his shell, and goes from eeeewww to awesome. Graced by gorgeous watercolors, this gentle story of an insect’s life cycle has won accolades from the National Science Teachers Association and International Reading Association.
— KIND Teacher (Kids In Nature’s Defense) – 2006 Children’s Honor Book Selection
In this endearing picture book, young Eliza finds a dragonfly nymph in a nearby pond and watches it grow. Every day, she visits the baby dragonfly , wondering when it will crawl out of the pond and fly away. Magnificent watercolor illustrations portray the beauty of nature.
— Skipping Stones (Vol 17, No. 4)
Every child should have an Aunt Doris, like Eliza has in Eliza and the Dragonfly by Rinehart and Hovemann. Not only is the aunt a patient and caring adult, she has a delightful view of the world of nature and is able to share her view with Eliza, while teaching her about the wonders around us all. The watercolors by Anisa Claire Hovemann add much to this simple story by Susie Caldwell Rinehart. Highly recommended.
— Hutton Book Review Services – Linda Hutton (March 31, 2004)
“Eeeeeewwww!” is Eliza’s first reaction when she sees the dragonfly nymph in Susie Caldwell Rinehart’s Eliza and the Dragonfly, illustrated by Anisa Claire Hovemann. But with the guidance of her Aunt Doris, an entomologist, Eliza becomes attached to the tiny dragonfjly she names Horace. Aunt Doris explains each stage in the life of a dragonfly, and soon Eliza watches Horace transform into a remarkable flying creature.
Rinehart is a teacher and writer with degrees in English and science. She lives in Vermont with her husband and son. Eliza is her first book. Hovemann is a senior at the Maryland Institute College of Art. This her first illustrated book.
— Reading Today (June/July 2005)
When a dragonfly lands on her toothbrush, Eliza journeys with her Aunt Doris — who happens to love all manner of bugs — to a nearby pond. Although Eliza’s initial reaction is a none-too-enthusiastic “Eeeewwww!” she and Aunt Doris are soon swept up in the hidden world of dragonflies.
The magic of a nymph’s metamorphosis — a metaphor for Eliza’s own coming of age — ultimately leads to a transformation in Eliza, too. Susie Caldwell Rinehart’s charming text reveals the wonders that can be found in a local pond, and Anisa Claire Hovemann’s watercolors are beautifully rendered. As well, the reference section that follows the text provides valuable information on the habitat and lifecycle of dragonflies.
Eliza and the Dragonfly allows children and their parents to see dragonflies in a new light.
— The Kaboose Network – Annie Rosenberg (June 2004)
Magnificent! A beautiful story about a little girl named Eliza and her fascination with a dragonfly nymph living in a pond near her house. Encouraged by her bug loving Aunt Doris, Eliza decides to name the nymph Horace. As she watches Horace muck around in the pond, Eliza anxiously awaits the day he will grow wings and fly. But her Aunt wisely tells her that the nymph is just being itself, milling around in the pond, unconcerned about when it will grow wings and fly. These thoughtful words and the transformation of Horace into a dragonfly teach Eliza an important lesson about growing up. the whimsical illustrations full of beautiful butterflies, flowers and dragonflies (of course) compliment the sweet story.
— Ventura County Parent(May 2004)
As the main character Eliza attends her first day of school, this book addresses the fears and insecurities she experiences during this transition. Eliza feels nervous and scared because she has to leave her mom. However, she discovers things throughout her day that remind her of her mom and carries them with her. As she places these objects in her pocket, she is reminded that although her mom cannot always be with her, she still carries her in her heart throughout the school day. Through the effective use of brightly colored illustrations, the mood is welcoming and inviting, implying a safe and secure classroom setting. Just as Eliza’s attitude toward school in the book changes from anxiousness to acceptance, this story will encourage children to accept school as a welcoming place and be comforted that although parents cannot be with them throughout the school day, they are always there in spirit.
— Oneota Journal – Decorah Public Library (Fall 2008)
It’s rare to find a book that is enjoyable, beautifully illustrated and inspiring. Eliza and the Dragonfly is full of rich detail and accurate facts about dragonflies while telling a delightful tale. First-time illustrator Hovemann gorgeously illustrates the tale of a child’s first encounter with a live creature.
— Parents’ Monthly (June 2004)
. . . Eliza and the Dragonfly . . . is designed to introduce the child to the joys of actually looking for dragonflies (getting thoroughly wet and muddy in process). It develops attitudes . . . that are likely o mature into understanding of our environment.
The book is richly and attractively illustrated with watercolor sketches of a child, her aunt, and, of course, dragonflies, including wet and wiggly nymphs. . . . The strength of the book is the tying together of the pond habitat for the nymph and its development into a magnificent flying insect. . . . It is a delight.
— ARGIA (Dragonly Society of America newsletter) (April 2004)
This Skipping Stones (Vol 17, No. 4) review describes the book nicely: “In this endearing picture book, young Eliza finds a dragonfly nymph in a nearby pond and watches it grow. Every day, she visits the baby dragonfly, wondering when it will crawl out of the pond and fly away. Magnificent watercolor illustrations portray the beauty of nature.”
This book does a nice job of weaving science into the story. There is also a nice resource section for more specific information on dragonflies.
— Children of the Earth (www.childrenoftheearth.org) (April 2008)
Rinehart reveals the beauty and wonder of the hidden world that can be found in a local pond or woods. This charming story will help to sustain any child’s natural curiosity in insects – and after reading it, many parents may see insects in a new light.
— Eleanor Sterling, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Bio-diversity & Conservation
American Museum of Natural History
The magic of a dragonfly’s transformation leads to a transformation in Eliza too. Written with charm, insight, and factually correct, this book is a story every child will both learn from and enjoy.
— Kathy Biggs, author of Common Dragonflies of California
and Common Dragonflies of the Southwest
When Eliza first discovers a dragonfly nymph at a nearby pond, she thinks it’s “gross,” but the suspense of watching it hatch into a beautiful creature changes her mind. In the process, Eliza learns something about growing up. This picture book illuminates the magic of a childhood discovery while teaching about a creature’s life cycle.
— Museum Store Magazine (Summer 2004)
When a dragonfly lands on Eliza’s toothbrush, she runs to find her bug-loving aunt Doris and they take it to a nearby pond. There in the pond she sees an “awful green creature’ – the size of a paperclip. Aunt Doris tells Eliza it is a dragonfly nymph. “Eeeeewwww!” she says. Before long Eliza changes her tune. She even names it. Soon Eliza experiences the miracle of the dragonfly lifecycle as she watches the nymph transform into a remarkable flying being. The book includes information about the lifecycle of dragonflies and a resource section.
— Southern Maryland Parent Line – Carla Cosner (June 2004)
Entertaining children’s books for those rainy days at the cottage and for bedtime are good to have in abundance. When they provide accurate, positive messages about the natural world, they are valuable. Eliza and the Dragonfly is a wonderful book for young children which tells the story of how a young girl, Eliza, and her Aunt Dorris observe and learn about dragonflies at a nearby pond. At the pond, they discover a dragonfly nymph whom they name Horace. They visit Horace often watching him through a waterscope Aunt Dorris makes until the day Horace climbs out of the water on a plant stem, discards his shell and waits for his wings to dry before flying off to eat mosquitoes. Eliza and the Dragonfly is both entertaining and educational and an ideal book for young cottagers.
— Wah-Wash-Kesh Conservation Assoc. Newsletter – Spring 2004
Eliza is surprised when a dragonfly lands on her toothbrush. She must tell Aunt Doris because she loves bugs. Aunt Doris is an entomologist. Eliza and Aunt Doris take the dragonfly to the pond and it is here that Eliza and her friends learn about the lifecycle of a dragonfly. This is a well written and beautifully illustrated story. The information about pond life and the dragonfly will stir the interest of the reader. This would make an excellent read aloud. The information presented and the close up illustrations will make for interesting discussions. I would purchase a hardback copy so it will survive lots of use.
— Lane Education Service District – Patricia Brigham (December 2007)
If I had to pick a favorite, this would be it! Eliza’s nature-loving aunt helps her niece and some friends catch the excitement of small miracles at the pond. It’s a great book to show you how one person’s enthusiasm for nature can be infectious! I’d recommend it for children 5-12.
— Shining Dawn Books (shiningdawnbooks.com) (June 2010)
Graced by gorgeous watercolor spreads, this gentle story of a dragonfly nymph’s transformation from eeeewwww to awesome has won accolades from both the National Science Teacher’s Association and the International Reading Association.
— KIND Teacher (Kids in Nature’s Defense)(March 2008)
We see dragonflies a lot in the summer. They are kind of cool looking. In this book a dragonfly flies into the girl’s house and lands on her toothbrush! She tells her aunt who is a person who knows a lot about bugs. Her aunt says that the dragonfly needs to go to the pond so they bring it there. Her aunt is kind of a silly lady and does some funny things but she knows a lot about different insects. The girl goes to the pond a lot. I like that dragonflies eat mosquitoes. I don’t like mosquito bites at all. I don’t think there are a lot of dragonflies by where we go camping because there are a lot of mosquitoes there. I liked learning about dragonflies.”
Eliza and the Dragonfly is a fun story about Eliza and her Aunt Doris, an entomologist. Aunt Doris teaches her all about the life cycle of a dragonfly. The book is filled with great information and I think that any young child would love the storyline and learn so much from reading this book.
— Kids Reader Views – Cayden Aures (age 6) and Mom (December 2010)