In this lyrical look at the water cycle, Miranda Paul explores the many forms water can take. Jason Chin’s lush illustrations frame the story around a brother and sister, their family and friends through all the seasons of one year.
“Water is water unless . . .” Paul begins. It’s liquid unless “it heats up” and becomes steam. Steam is steam unless “it cools high,” and then it’s a cloud. Thus Paul shapes the text, adding poetic touches on each spread: The steam whirls and swirls. The clouds could be dragons, even dragons in wagons. Her spare, inviting text uses meaty, descriptive verbs, altogether reading like a lovingly constructed poem.
She even brings readers a few surprises—that is, stops not normally visited during a water-cycle discussion. For instance, we read about apples, which can be pressed for the water inside to create delicious cider.
Chin’s watercolor-and-gouache illustrations are beautifully crafted. His autumn spreads nearly glow with many shades of orange; his summer spreads are filled with luxuriant greens; and his winter spreads are dotted with the colorful winter wear of the children against a stark, white background.
Pair this excellent book with George Ella Lyon’s All the Water in the World, illustrated by Katherine Tillotson, and watch children get swept away by wonder.
Julie Danielson features authors and illustrators at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog.
This article was originally published in the June 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.