Each page of this book features a child or children in a different part of the world expressing what water means to him or her. There are warm climate settings, cold climate settings, town, farm, forest and desert settings. There is a balance of boys and girls depicted. Most are interacting with the water (or its products). Each page also shows how to write “water is life” in the language the child would speak in that region.
The first page has an unseen person asking “Child of here, child of there, child of water . . . tell me about the water you see, the water you drink, the water that bathes you.” On the pages that follow, children answer. This is a perfect set-up for a discussion during story time, a writing activity for older elementary students, a thoughtful art activity for children of any age. What is water? How do you use it? What does it mean in your life?
The text itself is poetic and dreamy. On repeated readings, it is almost a lullaby and could become a bedtime story.
There are different colors and moods on every page. On some, the children look happy. Some are playing and some are working. Some pages are gloomy. Young readers will understand, through the text and illustrations, that some children struggle to get the water they need to drink and produce food.
Gerard Frischeteau is famous as an animator and commercial artist, and the illustrations here do have the feel of television animation. It’s up to each reader whether that’s a plus or a minus.
It would have been wonderful if the book included a map showing the locations of the children’s countries and the ecosystem depicted. Also useful would have been a pronunciation guide for the translations of “water is life.”
This is an excellent story time resource, particularly for this year’s summer reading theme, “Build a Better World.”