Written by Anne M.G. Schmidt
Illustrated by Sieb Posthuma
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers 3/01/2014
Age 6 and up 34 pages
“Discover the humorous and imaginative world of Dutch writer Annie Schmidt with this new collection of her beloved poems. Paired for the first time with art from award-winning illustrator Sieb Posthuma, these poems offer readers of all ages a perfect introduction to the fresh and inventive voice of an international renowned author.”
There are ten witty poems in A Pond Full of Ink. All are kid-friendly with subjects that will make most kids laugh. It begins with a situation most writers would love to have: a never-ending pond of ink and a portfolio of ten thousand stories and much more left to write. The writer might have written about the next poems subject: a naughty little girl who is not nice to anyone. She figures she will have enough time to be nice and polite once she becomes an adult.
With rhymes using some unusual words, these poems are quite delicious. Kids might need to look up a word or too, but it is good to learn new words while we read. In the poem Belinda Hated Getting Clean . . . Schmidt uses the word inveterate1 to describe how Belinda hated to get clean. Mom is at the end of her tether2 and tries to bathe her daughter, but Belinda glowers.3
In most of the poems, the new words can be deciphered by their context as in Three Elderly Otters who want to go boating but the signs all say,
“FORBIDDEN FOR OTTERS”
Those that keep the otters from the boats are called rotters.4 The three otters cannot find anything to do until they spot bicycles. Oh, so delighted, the three otters spot a sign that reads,
“OTTERS DON’T NEED TO PAY”
A Pond Full of Ink is a wonderful collection of poems. Each tells a story, most with unusual characters that the artist depicts at their quirkiest. Especially funny is Are You Joking, Mrs. Keller? Mr. Reeves is unhappy with the pets Mrs. Keller keeps in her house with her. He is not upset that there are seven. No, he is upset with the kind of pet she keeps. Mr. Reeves suddenly changes his mind after Mrs. Keller makes a veiled threat. What I really love is the illustrations. There are the seven bears standing in different windows. Each one is watching, some with an angry look. One pulls back the drapes, as if sneaking a peak. The one splash of bright color in the spread full of dark, muted reds and off-white is the green cactus sitting in an unoccupied window. Your eye is drawn to the cactus, but it is probably best to keep your eyes on the seven pet bears.
A Pond Full of Ink will entertain any age. The illustrations enhance the poems and are quite humorous. The poems are longer than most kid’s poetry, but they are easy to read aloud. Most are ridiculously unrealistic, like the table that wants to go for a stroll along the shore—and does! Also, a young girl’s (supposedly) stuffed crocodile eats nasty adults; a deer who wonders into a home ends up staying, sitting on the couch, used as a hanger for all sorts of the woman’s items; and a family living in a tree . . . wait, that could actually be true.
If you want to know read about a gossiped upon man who meets up with the four gossiping woman; three robbers who have robbed all but the moon and go after that; or any of the other poems described, you must read A Pond Full of Ink. The wonderful illustrations will help you visualize anything you cannot. Make sure you look around at the added details. The poems are funny, inventive, and some of the most interesting poems for kids I have read this year. A Pond Full of Ink comes from a poet from across the pond, Dutch poet Anne Schmidt. If you look closely, the book begins with “A” and ends with “Z” and a little sign that reads, “end.”
A POND FULL OF INK. Tex copyright © 1978 by The Estate of Annie M.G. Schmidt. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Sieb Posthuma. English translation copyright © 2011 by David Colmer. Reproduced in part by permission of the publisher, Eerdmans BFYR, Grad Rapids, MI.
Learn more about A Pond Full of Ink HERE
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers is an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
A Pond Full of Ink was first published in 2011 by Em Querido Uitgeverij B. V. The original title is Een vijver vol inkt.
1 firmly affixed, for a long time, in a bad habit—[inveterate]
2 rope, usually tied to an animal to keep it from roaming off—[tether]
3 a sullen, angry, resentful look on someone’s face–[glowers]
4 a nasty, unpleasant people—[rotters]
Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews