by Laura Purdie Salas & Violeta Dabija, illustrator
MillBrook Press 4/01/2014
Age 4 to 8 32 pages
“Water can be a . . . Thirst quencher. Kid drencher. Cloud fluffer. Fire snuffer. Find out about the many roles water pays in this poetic exploration of water throughout the year.”
“Water us water—
it’s puddle, pond sea.
When springtime comes splashing,
the water flows free.”
Water Can Be . . . is the second Laura Purdie Salas picture book reviewed here at KLR. The first was A Leaf Can Be . . . (reviewed here) which is about all the things a leaf can be that we never think about or realized. In that same vain, Water Can Be . . . is about all the things we may not notice about water. Told in rhyming text, the story needs the illustrations, as the two together make the wonderful story of what Water Can Be . . .
There are a few things that water can become that I had not thought of. We all know that snow is water, rain is water, and my personal favorite, ice is water. Have you ever heard of a “woodchuck warmer?” Did you know that water heavily influences the woodchuck warmer? Me either. I had no idea what a woodchuck warmer is, or that water was involved, and honestly, the illustrations failed me on this. It looks like an animal sleeping under a blanket of leaves.
In the back of the book, the author wrote a guide to each thing water could be. Thanks to that guide, I can explain how a woodchuck warmer and water influence each other. Woodchucks burrow in the ground and hibernate. If not for the snowfall atop the leaves that lay upon the burrow opening, and across the land above the burrow, these winter homes would become tragically cold and the woodchucks would most likely not survive the winter. Water, now in the form of snow, acts as an insulator. That is one heck of a job for water and it works wondrously.
The illustrations are gorgeous, just as they were in A Leaf Can Be . . . but the author presents the water possibilities in a scattered manner. Spreads jump from a light image, say of two kids playing in a water sprinkler or fluffer clouds, to a ship at trouble in a storm or a firefighters putting out a forest fire, as birds quickly fly away, sometimes in the same spread. Most images are in shades of bluish-green, some darker than others. My favorite illustration is water as a picture catcher. A young girl looks at herself in the smooth surface of a little pond and sees a reflection of herself. The illustration is fantastic. I love that the facial expressions are nearly identical and the nice shade of red in the girl’s coat.
Each thing water can become is beautifully visualized so kids can instantly understand the two-word concepts presented, such as thirst quencher / kid drencher and home maker / ship breaker. Younger children will grasp most of the possibilities. Heck, even an adult can understand what water can be . . . well, maybe not all of the concepts.
Water Can Be . . . is a home and school library keeper. In schools, it is useful for teaching younger children about the elements—beginning with water—in its many forms, performing many life-affirming tasks. There are more uses than what Water Can Be . . . rhythmically covered. The author challenges the reader to find more on his or her own. What do you think Water Can Be . . .?
WATER CAN BE . . . Text copyright © 2014 by Laura Purdie Salas. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Violeta Dabija. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Millbrook Press, Minneapolis, MN.
*10% of author’s revenue is donated to WaterAid.org
Learn more about Water Can Be . . . HERE.
Find books at the Millbrook Press website:
Also by Laura Purdie Salas
Also by Violeta Dabija