This delightfully entertaining book for children ages 6 to 12 is an all-you-need-to-know compendium of lake and pond life. The facts fly fast and furious in segmented boxes on each page, and kids will gladly gobble up the information if they’re not too enthralled by the gorgeous artwork. Information is presented as a collection of clippings, letters, and informational blurbs collected by the character Planet Scout Klint, who records his observations from February to January. The text includes reports from Klint’s fellow Planet Scouts and the author, Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini, who also illustrates each page with educational borders and multi-layered depictions of birds, bugs, fish, and plant life. The book presents the creatures that abound in North American lakes and ponds, including salamanders, the great blue heron, wood frogs, fishing spiders, pond crayfish, beavers, common loons, turtles, and many others. This fun, colorful, and joyful book will inspire children to investigate lakes, ponds, and other natural areas.
Its hard to imagine a parent or child who would pick up this book and not want to take it home (or out to the pond!) for repeated readings; each page is so chock-full of visually stimulating information that one reading is not enough. Young pre-readers also will delight in the colorful fun depicted on each page, be it o ducks, dragonflies, or Klint himself peeking out from under a water lily after capsizing his grandmother’s canoe in the lake. Pratt-Serafini wrote and illustrated three previous books in her teens – A Walk in the Rainforest, A Swim Through the Sea, and A Fly in the Sky – and her sense of youth remains undiminished by college graduation and marriage. With her obvious love of nature and fine eye for detail, Pratt-Serafini serves youth sumptuously well with Salamander Rain.
— New Age Retailer – September 2001
This book takes the reader through a year of experiences and observations as recorded by a Wetland Patrol Planet Scout team member. Each double-page spread includes hand-printed notes on the amphibians, birds, insects, plants, and animals that inhabit a local pond. Each entry gives facts and statistics on one organism, plus notes, sidebars, blurbs, newspaper clippings, and letters about related species that circle the pages in striking watercolor drawings. A teacher’s guide is available. Good factual information about water environments, but the often busy-looking format may be difficult for students to process, and there’s no index or table of contents to aid further research.
— Library Talk – Anne Hartle(November/December 2001)
Bold illustrations and journal notes, maps, clips from news articles, and fun tidbits provide a brilliant model for student journals. The story joyfully describes major seasonal changes that occur in a temperate pond community.
— CBC/NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12
Salamander Rain: A Lake & Pond Journal is one of a series of nature books written in the style of a child’s diary. From amphibians to birds, crustaceans to insects, Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini’s brightly detailed watercolor illustrations highlight a variety of animals discovered by a boy and his sister as they explore the ponds and lakes around their home. Spotted salamanders, with yellow and orange dotted markings are charmingly clownish “scrambling over twigs, rocks, and each other” to pools and ponds where they’ll raise their young. A heron, with its “long, slinky neck like a snake” and “skinny legs like broom handles,” appears admirably intent as it hunts for lunch. Boxes with species descriptions and other fun facts answer questions that the boy raises in his journal, and a list of internet sites and nature books at the end provide additional resources for youths interested in learning more about freshwater habitats. But it’s the childlike wonder conveyed by Pratt-Serafini’s clever narration that will make kids antsy – and parents nostalgic – for a watery romp outside.
— Audubon – Julie Leibach (July/August 2007)
Its diary-style story makes this picture book an appealing read for children ages 7-12. We follow a year of journal entries by Klint, a young Planet Scout, who is observing and tracking changes in a local wetland. The story is jam-packed with interesting facts, illustrated by detailed and vibrant watercolors, and presented in a variety of fonts that give the book a scrapbook-like appearance. The author inspires young children to take action, to get involved in local environmental issues and to become Planet Scouts themselves. She provides a book list and web resources, in addition to information on joining the Planet Scouts organization.
— Green Teacher (Spring 2003)
This lusciously illustrated picture book/field guide/treasure hunt is just the invitation teachers, parents and children need to get them exploring the ponds and lakes in their neighborhoods. Be prepared . . . the author’s infectious joy will reach out and tickle you enough to get you to put on your boots, grab a net and make your own discoveries.
— David Sobel – Co-director, Center for Environmental Education
Education plays a big role in creating and nurturing a healthy respect for the natural world. This respect develops into a need and desire to protect the environment and the plants and animals with whom we share the Earth.
Two informative books published by Dawn Publications that will educate and entertain children about the natural world are My Favorite Tree: Terrific Trees of North America and Salamander Rain: A Lake & Pond Journal.
Ponds, lakes and the plants and animals who live in and around these vital ecosystems are the focus of Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini’s book, Salamander Rain. The information is provided in the form of a journal and scrapbook.
. . . The interesting facts and colorful illustrations of both books will hold a child’s attention. My Favorite Tree and Salamander Rain are great books for people of all ages who are interested in nature – and “must reads” for those who aren’t!
— Cottage Times (March 2003)
Nature educators are thrilled with this “journal,” which acts as an already-filled notebook of an enthusiastic child. The boy, and his older sister, explore their neighborhood pond, a lake by their grandmother’s house, and other nature-filled areas. The pair report on plants, wildlife, insects and birds and, at the end, offer tips on how to clean up a pond, other books to read and environmental websites. Full of realistic-looking notes about educational, but fun observations, Salamander Rain is great for kids 6 to 12 who love the outdoors.
— Copley News Service – Kid’s Home Library – Lee Littlewood
(Syndicated column in over 200 newspapers in U.S. & Canada)
This simulated scrapbook is assembled by “Klint,” who, in his third year as a Planet Scout and member of its Wetland Patrol, has gathered together his own notes, encyclopedia articles, clippings and drawings to help identify various kinds of salamanders, frogs, birds, and other inhabitants of ponds, lakes and bogs. Their complex and vibrant systems are delightfully depicted in this very special book. Let’s go lie on our stomachs next to the nearest pond and find out what’s going on. And then, when we’re forced to go indoors, our by-now-insatiable curiosity can be fed by consulting the list of websites and other books listed at the end of this totally engrossing work.
— NAPRA Review – July/August 2001
The author of Salamander Rain: A Lake and Pond Journal illustrates the Sonoran Desert of Arizona in a number of ways. The nature journal entries of a girl named Megan, recently moved to Arizona, face full-page watercolors in the bright colors of the desert. Each image has a border of related flora and fauna; for example, the saguaro page is bordered by other cacti. Other text boxes describe scorpions, butterflies, coyotes, tarantulas, and jackrabbits. Text bites describe plants and flowers. Megan makes a friend of a local Native American boy and his grandmother, and their stories and perspectives are woven into the natural history along with descriptions of the monthly moons: October is Small Rains Moon, for example. . . . the natural history is sound and the pictures engaging.
— Booklist – Grace Anne DeCandido (October 2002)
It’s a jungle out there. Sometimes we forget that we are only one of countless species flying, swimming, tunneling and scurrying on the third rock from the sun. We still have no clear notion just how many creatures are endangered by the negligent stewardship of Homo sapiens, the currently dominant species of mammal. While biologists labor to identify the unknown animals and protect the known, authors and illustrators turn this feast of information into a golden age for children’s non-fiction. Never before have young people had available so many beautiful, fact-filled books about our fellow creatures. There are more good new books about animals than we can possibly do justice to here, so we’ll serve up only the cream of the crop.
. . . Equally beautiful and fact-filled are two new books from Dawn Publications. Salamander Rain written and illustrated by Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini, examines a neighborhood pond by following fictional children’s studies of it, from lyrical portraits of map turtles to the children’s index-card notes. Salmon Stream, written by Carol Reed-Jones and illustrated by Michael S. Maydak, employs a different narrative style, following salmon (rather than a whole ecosystem) through a season. Both are impressive.
— BookPage.com – Children’s Books – August 2001
Wild places like wetlands provide habitat for a diversity of plants and animals and they are great for hands-on explorations of nature. This colorful book is an invitation to kids to learn and care more about ponds, lakes and other wetlands that are found closer to home than we think.
— Beth Stout – National Wildlife Federation
There are more than 100 million acres of freshwater wetlands, each the source of wonder, each in need of protection and stewardship. This scrapbook, a yearlong lake and pond journal purportedly kept by a young boy, is filled with drawings, notes, articles and interesting trivia. The title refers to the time when salamanders migrate from the forest to pools to raise their young.
The user friendly format includes vibrant watercolor illustrations and extensive information about animal and plant species. There’s also a short list of web and book resources, including how to join the Planet Scouts, an ecological organization for kids..
— Kidbooks (April 2001)
Vivid, detailed illustrations and intriguing notes, odd facts, and nature lore, make this exploration of lakes and ponds an outstanding addition to the “Planet Scouts” series. The author-illustrator, uses the persona of Klint and Kori, two older children, who keep a meticulous picture journal of the northern ponds and lakes they explore from spring through fall. Each double page provides an image of a pond or lake and its inhabitants. Borders provide small drawings of plants and animals with scientific names. Notes and observations appear handwritten on 3×5 index cards. Fragments of newspaper articles, magazines and “do you know” boxes superimposed on the illustration intrigue and add interest. For example, “Living Frog-sickles,” an article that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, explains how cold-blooded wood frogs, survive till spring, by freezing solid. And, elsewhere the author notes you can tell a male spotted turtle from a female spotted turtle because the males have brown eyes and the females have orange eyes. While less able readers may find the small hand-lettered type and difficult vocabulary challenging, gifted children, nature observers of all ages and visual learners will find much to delight them here. Includes further reading, Web sites and an opportunity to participate in “Planet Scouts,” online. A fine addition for the science nature section of public, school and home libraries.
— Appraisal Science Books for Young People – Librarian Reviewer (2002)
This colorful, accurate, well-illustrated book is a wonderful blend of a picture book and field guide that presents information in an engaging way. The central thread of the book is a collection of excerpts from Klint’s, a curious young boy’s, four-season journal. The journal documents his observations and wonderings, as well as those of his sister and other Planet Scouts, about fresh water wetlands and their inhabitants. This device should help young naturalists understand the components of journal writing and how observation leads to an awareness of and respect for the natural world. The pages are full of information about organisms that are related to those mentioned in Klint’s journal. Genus and species, size, and habitat identify each organism. The book encourages children to observe and learn about the natural world directly, through reading and the Internet. Young children may need some adult help with the book since it does not have a glossary and depicts related, geographically diverse, organisms that are not drawn to scale. Ideally, this interaction will include an excursion to a fresh-water wetland.
— Appraisal Science Books for Young People – Education Specialist Reviewer (2002)
Salamander Rain: A Lake & Pond Journal by Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini is an entertaining book that is filled with interesting information about ponds and lakes and the plants and animals who live in these environments. Pratt-Serafini provides the information in a journal and scrapbook of Klint, a young Planet Scout. The considerable information about the diverse life in an around ponds, lakes and woodland pools is complemented by colorful illustrations. Salamander Rain will not only hold a child’s attention, it will also educate him/her about these fascinating and vital parts of the environment.
— Lake Wah-Wash-Kesh Newsletter (Fall 2003)