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The Secret Pool

ISBN: 9780884483397

About This Book

Kimberly Ridley

Illustrated by Rebekah Raye

Publication date: September 1, 2013
Hardcover, $16.95, ISBN 978-0-88448-339-7
9 x 10, 32 pages, color illustrations
Children / Nature; Grades 2-4

You might walk right by a vernal pool and not notice it. Often mistaken for mere puddles in the woods, vernal pools are the source of life for many interesting creatures. If you look carefully you can find them—and be amazed! These secret pools form every year when low places on the forest floor fill up with rain and melted snow. They soon become home to hatching wood frogs, spotted salamanders, and fairy shrimp. Even in late summer and fall, when many vernal pools have shrunk to mud holes, creatures such as turtles and snakes rely on these places for shelter and food.

The Secret Pool introduces young readers to the wonders right underfoot as the voice of a vernal pool shares its secrets through the seasons and as sidebars provide fun facts on its inhabitants and the crucial role these small, often overlooked wetlands play in maintaining a healthy environment.

Awards for The Secret Pool

  • Lupine Award, Maine Library Association, 2013
  • Riverby Award for Outstanding Natural History Books for Young People, John Burroughs Association, 2013
  • Skipping Stones Honor Award, 2014
  • CCBC Choices, Best Children’s Books, 2014
  • Reading is Fundamental STEAM Collection, 2014
  • Best Children’s Books, Downeast Magazine, 2014
  • Finalist, Maine Literary Awards, 2014

Reviews for The Secret Pool

Kirkus (Starred Review)

“Share with budding naturalists or use as an excellent guide for a woodland walk when the first rains of spring awaken this diverse and fascinating ecosystem.”


School Library Journal

“Unique and original, this informative book will captivate and inform readers and browsers alike.”

Book Source

“Beautiful text and illustrations help readers learn about events that take place during the spring cycle of a vernal pool….an excellent choice to read aloud as part of a life science unit or just for fun. Sidebars include additional information creating a rich experience for students to savor on their own.”

Children’s Literature  

“Combine the traditional ‘I spy’ game along with a love of nature, a healthy sense of discovery plus awe and wonder and you’ll have an ideal approach to this magical book.”

Waking Brain Cells

“Ridley has nicely created a book that can be used at two levels.  The larger text can be shared as…a story about the pools [and] the smaller text provides deeper information about the vernal pools and the animals.  Her words work together well, the simpler text offers a poetic voice to the factual information that serves to remind us how amazing all of this actually is.

This book reveals a world right under our feet that most children never knew existed.

Maine Sunday Telegram

The Secret Pool is a clever, fun and educational children’s book….a delightful story that smartly explains the varieties of life that abound in vernal pools. This is natural science well taught, using beautiful color illustrations and clear narrative…”