By Kimberly Ridley
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 them 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 sidebars provide fun facts on its inhabitants and the crucial role these small, often overlooked wetlands play in maintaining a healthy environment.