Calling all elementary school teachers and librarians! This is the book to use to introduce wetland ecosystems. The information is completely accurate, the food web information is well researched, and the illustrations are of the highest quality. But these are all features that we educators need to know and appreciate. What the students will appreciate is the great Dr. Seuss-esque rhyming scheme that has the all of the wetland creatures interacting in a complex, lilting cadence. The graphics, by the most talented Jennifer DiRubbio, are fully engaging. This is the fourth book in the Sharing Nature with Children series by Anthony D. Fredericks. Although I haven’t read his other offerings, I can say that if they are of the caliber of this text, they are needed in every elementary school library and classroom. Not only are the writing and artwork outstanding, but included at the end of the story are “Field Notes” that cover all of the organisms mentioned, as well as a list of wetland organizations that can be contacted to learn more. Bravo to a book I proudly read to my own family! (Sharing Nature with Children Series) Highly Recommended.
— Science Books & Films – Kristina Hardwick (Vol 41, No. 5)
At first , the wetlands appear to be rather plain and empty. Upon a closer look, through the eyes of the author, we find a very busy little kingdom.
Near one cattail in the wetlands, there abounds a multitude of animals from frogs and turtles to backswimmers and muskrats. This book by the same name, Near One Cattail, is a very fun and informative read in a clever poetry format. We learn about seven very different critters that live in the wetlands and also some of their habitats.
The detailed and colorful illustrations enhance the text and we get lost in this wonderful “web of life in this soggy land.” Field Notes offer descriptions for each of the critters, along with a fantastic fact! For instance, did you know that in winter, when water freezes in the wetlands, backswimmers walk upside down under the ice? The author has included some of his favorite resource books for further reading pleasure.
The book is very timely since our wetlands are in danger. More human houses, highways and shopping centers are being built on wetlands.
— Skipping Stones – Beth Erfurth (May-August 2006)
Here is a world where tadpoles play, and crowds of bugs dance through the day.” So begins this lovely tribute to the importance and beauty of North American wetlands. This title, the fourth collaboration between this author and this illustrator on the theme of environmental awareness, tells of the exploration by a little girl of the wetland area surrounding one cattail. Wetland wildlife of all sorts is encountered in her exploration, and the interdependence of each species is shown through the beautiful watercolor illustrations as well as in the cumulative format of the text. A very creative hybrid of fiction and nonfiction, this book combines the compelling features of rhyme and narrative to add interest to enormous amounts of information about wetlands. An illustrated glossary and an extensive list of additional resources about wetlands will make this book useful to teachers at all elementary levels. Integration of the curricular areas of science, social studies and language arts in the classroom will be an easy and enjoyable task using this book.
— Children’s Literature (Summer 2005)
A backswimmer is an insect that spends his whole life on his back. A muskrat has two coats. Dragonfly nymphs sometimes live under the water for five years. These are some of the interesting facts that children can learn in this book.
In a rhyming, lyrical, catchy narrative, the text enlightens readers about creatures of the wetlands and some of the ways they are important to the ecological makeup of the earth, while a whole new world opens up to a little girl watching from the bank of a swamp. “The marshy land with a layer of ooze / Was explored by a girl in high-topped shoes. / A quizzical thought crossed her face: / What creatures live in this bog-boggy place?”
Without being preachy, the author blends his talent and love of educating into a lively tool that parents and teachers can use to instruct kids in a way that is enjoyable to them. Fredericks has written more than twenty-five children’s books, among them Around One Cactus: Owls, Bats and Leaping Rats, and In One Tidepool: Crabs, Snails and Salty Tails, on which he collaborated with the same illustrator. One of Fredericks’s favorite pastimes is traveling to schools to share his interest in preserving the wetlands.
The illustrations are soft, pseudo-photographic representations of nature. The little girl’s face holds the sweetness of the children in the early Little Golden Books as they hung clothes on the line or were tucked into bed. DiRubbio uses her art as a way to promote education about the causes for which she feels passionate.
At the end of the book, the animals mentioned in the poem are listed, with facts about each of them. While not everyone lives near wetlands, such ecosystems exist in every state, and learning about them is a step toward saving them. The knowledge that can be gained from this informative book may spark the curiosity of an environmentalist in the making.
A name for the little girl would have given a more personal feel to the verse. Without a name, she is an abstract, a supporting actor as the ecology plays out before her eyes; her presence does not detract from the grand theme of nature.
The beetle that scoots, the turtles that sunbathe, the ducks that paddle are a few of the animals that inhabit the “sog-soggy home” that is the wetland. Standing near one cattail (which itself can be used in making food or as medicine), the little girl sees the microcosm of nature in a way that is fun and instructive.
— Foreword Magazine – Katie Klein(July/August 2005)
Have you ever explored a soggy-boggy wetland? A whole community of creatures lives there! And it really is a community. With a fistful of fun and fact, author Anthony Fredericks and illustrator Jennifer DiRubbio have created another lighthearted yet educational picture book, this time featuring the animals that live together in wetland areas. No child will be able to resist visiting the local bog after reading Near One Cattail: Turtles, Logs and Leaping Frogs.
— County Kids (February 2006)
This is the fourth in a series of children’s books by Fredericks and DiRubbio that explore life in a small ecosystem (the others are Under One Rock, In One Tidepool, and Around One Cactus). Dawn Publications is a small Nevada City company that specializes, as it says, “in books for children that inspire a deeper understanding for all life on Earth,” and this 32-page large-format volume typifies their high quality. Meant for kids aged 4 to about 10, it combines a sing-song poem with richly detailed full-color pictures to portray the life in a typical wetland. An intro notes that wetlands are fast disappearing, and a follow-up set of “field notes” provides further information about each of the plants and animals described in the story. Further resources – books and conservation groups – are listed as well. Log onto dawnpub.com to see the full range of excellent, affordable children’s books from this admirable publisher.
— Chico News & Review – Robert Speer (April 7, 2005)
This book is an engaging educational picture book about the animals of the wetlands. From dragonflies that zip by and frogs that hop, to critters that swim and crawl too – each animal is different, but all the same in that they play a major role in the wetlands ecosystem. This book has beautiful illustrations and is a perfect demonstration of how animal communities live and work together.
— Southern Maryland Parent Line – Carla Cosner (September 2005)
Near One Cattail is an appropriate and entertaining introduction to wetlands and habitats for young children and will have interest and appeal for older ones as well. It’s an excellent read-aloud with lots of factual information at the end including addresses and websites for organizations working to protect and reclaim wetlands. This will be a valuable addition to a classroom, home or library.
— Learning Explorations – Barbara Geiger, President (May 2005)
You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but . . . Tony Fredericks’ fourth title in the Web of Life series draws on his years in the classroom. It’s designed to be used right across the curriculum. Science teachers will love the poetry approach to solid science. Reading teachers will love the cumulative tale technique that’s so great for reinforcing reading skills. Social Studies teachers will love the environmental approach. All in all, Tony has done it again: he’s delivered the perfect book for every classroom library.
— Patricia Broderick, Editorial Director, Teaching K-8 Magazine
The lyrical text and beautiful illustrations of Near One Cattail bring to life the amazing creatures that can be found in wetlands. It does a great job showing the interconnectedness of all wetland creatures. Once their curiosity is sparked, I hope young readers will be inspired to explore – and fall in love – with marshes and other natural places.
— Leah Miller, Director of Watershed Programs, Izaak Walton League of America
Children ages 4 to 10 will enjoy meeting the community of creatures that live in a soggy-boggy wetland in Near One Cattail: Turtles, Logs and Leaping Frogs by Anthony Fredericks. “A theme of this books is to show how a community works and functions effectively, even when everyone is different,” stated Mr. Fredericks. The book is illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio, a graduate of Pratt Institute.
— The Westfield Leader – Marylou Morano (April 22, 2005)
I thought this book was very fun and easy to read because it had many facts about animals that lived in the swamps. My favorite animals in the book were a turtle, dragonfly, frog and ducks. The most disgusting thing in the book was a paddling beetle. I really liked the artwork; it almost looked like they were real photographs! I really like the water snakes. A fact I liked about the dragonfly was that the compound eyes of some species of dragonfly are so close together they sometimes meet on the top of the head. I also liked how Near One Cattail rhymed, with each animal or insect having a poem about them.
— Kids Reader Views – Sophia McElroy (age 8) (April 22, 2005)