Most humans share the experience of a mosquito bite. The Web at Dragonfly Pond begins with the common event of a mosquito bite ending with a far less common event, fresh caught bass for dinner. Boyhood reflections epitomize the food web and how humans are an integral part of the predator-prey relationship. From cover to cover, captivating illustrations visually invite the casual peruser into the book, all the while sharing an essential science lesson on the food web. The Web at Dragonfly Pond is a must for child-oriented life science interpreters. Ideal for indoor or outdoor story time, The Web at Dragonfly Pond will make a great addition to early childhood and elementary teachers’ lassroom library. This book can be correlated to science standards involving characteristics and interactions of living organisms generating science inquiry pertaining to the ecology of human impact in an aquatic community.
— Wendy Ziegler – Environmental Educator & Reviewer (January 2008)
Imagine a conversation between a boy and his father about fishing and all the wonders that this experience might convey, and you will have this perfectly delightful and educational story. The young narrator weaves a fascinating tale of how he learned about the ecosystems surrounding ponds while fishing with his dad. Nature lovers will enjoy the easy transitions showing the value of all the creatures from mosquitoes to frogs to fish, with the dragonfly in center stage. The boy’s father gently explains the roles of the animals in the web, including how humans interact within this particular ecosystem. As he listens to his dad’s explanations, the boy expresses his sense of wonder and then understanding of how nature works. The language of the story is colorful and flows in the manner of a storyteller. The pictures are captivating and add to further understanding of nature. The end of the book includes “A Day on Dragonfly Pond,” with additional factual information and some simple things kids could do to further explore animals and nature. This would make a great addition to a primary collection of read-aloud science books about the fragile relationships in a pond ecosystem. It will become a favorite.
— Library Media Connection – Janie E. Stokes (January 2007)
In this autobiographical story, the author tells of a day spent fishing with his dad and learning about the web of life. The story begins with Ellis himself falling prey to mosquitos, and proceeds up the trophic ladder to a dragonfly, a frog and, finally, the black bass that father and son take home for dinner. Maydak’s colorful and realistic illustrations enhance the message that all of life is bound together.
— Green Teacher (Summer 2008)
The WEB is a metaphor for the linking together of life in a pond, from the newly hatched dragonfly who snatches the mosquito, to the frog who gulps the dragonfly just after she lays hundreds of eggs, to the bass who swallows the frog. And there is a father-son fishing story, too. As the boy observes and interacts with his father and the natural scene (ouch! swat!), he also records his thoughts and feelings. Larger-than-life, dramatic and realistic, page’n a half illustrations move the fish dinner to its thought-provoking conclusion: “In my blood flows the song of the birds, the buzz of mosquito. Inside me is the hum of the dragonfly’s wing, the croak of the frog, and the splash of the large mouth bass. And because I fed a mosquito, something of my life flows in all of them.” Along the way, scientific concepts of interdependency, links of the food chain, and life cycles are interwoven with the good catch story. If you want more meat about culex pipiens (mosquito) or rna catesbeina (bullfrog), read the addendum. Read-aloud and quiet moment book.
— Missouri State Univ. Book Review Board (December 2006)
The Web at Dragonfly Pond is a delightfully illustrated tale both entertaining and educational. Drawn from a boy’s memories of fishing with his father, the book also provides accurate information about the life cycle of dragonflies and other members of the food chain at Dragonfly Pond. The illustrations are vibrant and fit in with each step of the story. A great read for the fisherman father and son!
— Ventura County Parent Magazine (June 2006)
“I remember fishing with my dad when I was ten years old, and we were getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.” So begins the tale of a food chain that exists in a pond. The boy fed the mosquito, the mosquito fed the dragonfly, the dragonfly fed the frog, the frog fed the largemouth bass, and finally the bass fed the family. As the boy spends that special time with his dad, he observes various predator-prey relationships and learns how hi is part of the story taking place at the pond. “Inside me is the hum of the dragonfly’s wing, the croak of the frog, and the splash of the large mouth bass. And because I fed a mosquito, something of my life flows in all of them, he says.” At the end of the book are two page of information about the various “characters” that live at Dragonfly Pond. This book is not only a good read-alone book for kids, but also a wonderful read-aloud book for parents and grandparents.
— Outdoor America – Liz Roy (Fall 2007)
A boy goes out one day with his father on a fishing trip to Dragonfly Pond. As the two spend time together, the boy observes how nature forms a web of interrelationships. a mosquito bites the boy. Larger creatures devour smaller ones. The family consumes the fish that the boy and his father caught that day. The story is told so that readers will understand the importance of these cycles. It points out that there is a delicate balance among the plants and animals that inhabit the wetlands. As long as this balance is preserved, the wetlands are healthy and teaming with life. The illustrations help create the mood, showing the beauty of the area. Readers in grades four to six will find much to think about as they read this story. They can appreciate the way man has the power to preserve or destroy the natural balance of the wetlands.
— Catholic Library World – Charlotte Decker (June 2007)
If you are looking for a way to teach your students about the food web and the interconnectedness of life, this title is an excellent choice. The main character, a young boy, is fishing with the father on Dragonfly Pond. There he witnesses the food chain in the form of a bass, a bullfrog, a dragonfly, and a mosquito. Woven throughout are scientific concepts such as predator-prey relationships, insect behavior, biotic features of the pond, and more. Appended is a double-page spread detailing the organisms featured in the book. The accompanying illustrations are realistic and full of action and detail.
— Education Oasis – www.educationoasis.com (April 2006)
The Web at Dragonfly Pond provides a substantial amount of information embedded in a story that follows a logical sequence and is fun to read. The additional information about the main characters at the end of the book is very helpful. It and the description and illustrations of all the animals around and above the pond as the sun begins to set offer possibilities for deeper investigation of each. The illustrations powerfully show the reality of the food web and the interconnectedness of life.
— Learning Explorations – Barbara Geiger (June 2006)
Ellis recounts childhood adventures that he experienced with his father on fishing trips. He weaves these adventures together into one pivotal excursion where he encounters mosquitoes, dragonflies, frogs, and fish. On this same experience, he witnesses the “web of life” and ecosystem of a pond. Because of the many scientific facts, this would be a beneficial tool during a science lesson. Positive elements of this book include the scientific information woven into the story; the portrayal of a healthy, loving relationship between a boy and his father; the visually appealing illustrations; and the last section of the book, “A Day on Dragonfly Pond,” explaining further scientific information about plants, insects, amphibians, and fish…
— Children’s Literature (September 2006)
In The Web at Dragonfly Pond the boy goes fishing with his dad just like we go fishing with dad. The boy in the book is 10 though and I am only 6. The boy is getting bit up by mosquitoes and he doesn’t like it. It isn’t fun to get mosquito bites. Then his dad tells him that the mosquitoes are doing their job. The mosquitoes feed the other things by the lake.
A dragonfly eats the mosquitoes, and then a frog eats him, and then a fish eats him. My favorite picture in the book was the one of the fish eating the frog. I liked thinking about how all of those things eat the other things. Then we eat the fish after we catch it. In The Web at Dragonfly Pond I learned all of those things need all of the other things to live. So, mosquitoes are important even if they are annoying and bite you.
— Kids Reader Views – Cayden Aures (age 6.5) and Mom (March 2011)
A buzzing mosquito is the unlikely vehicle that takes the reader from a boy’s delightful day on a summer pond with his father into the web of life that sustains us all. The Web at Dragonfly Pond drives home an ecological world view that emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things.
— Terra Brockman
Executive Director, The Land Connection (October 2005)
The story of a boy and his father fishing together not only conveys strong family values but also envelopes scientific concepts.
— Phyllis Hostmeyer
Language Arts Educational Consultant, Madison County, Illinois (October 2005)
The Web at Dragonfly Pond reminds us that children possess an innate connection to wild things in wet places. Share this compelling story, then go outside and visit the waters near your home for an adventure that will last a lifetime.
— Michael J. Caduto
author of many books including Pond and Brook, co-author of the Keepers of the Earth series(October 2005)
Not only is this a loving autobiographical story of a father sharing his knowledge while fishing with his son, it provides accurate information about the members of the food chain at Dragonfly Pond.
— Dr. Stephanie L. McAndrews
Literacy Program Director, Southern Illinois University (October 2005)
What a wonderful educational tool that parents and teachers can read to make their children aware of our precious environment.
— Tom Miller
Western Illinois Univ., Park Director for Sumner Park Historic Farm (October 2005)
Scratching his mosquito bites, the boy complained to his father, “I hate mosquitoes.” His father replied, “Do you like to fish or listen to the birds sing or watch the frogs leap? Mosquitoes are the food for fish and birds and frogs.”
From a simple fishing excursion with his dad the boy (and we) learn about the food chain, the life cycle, wild things in wet places, and the web of life.
The Web at Dragonfly Pond is the story of a boy and his father fishing together and the interconnectedness of all things. The boy watched the wonder of the dragonfly nymph emerge from her shell and become a beautiful creature of the air, and like a hawk, sweep down and devour hundreds of mosquitoes day.
Suddenly a frog jumps from the water to feast upon the dragonfly only to be eaten by the fish, and some of the fish caught that day were eaten by the boy and his dad. Some were released so that the web of life would go on and on.
As the boy ate he thought of the mosquito and the dragonfly, the frog and the bass, and within the mosquito a drop of his own blood – “A bit of me!” The web of life.
For the Christian the web of life is an incredible gift from God and with the psalmist we sing, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Ps. 24:1).
— Church Educator (December 2006)