With catchy rhymes and colorful artwork, author Miranda Paul skillfully weaves the seasonal play of children with water to introduce the water cycle. Water is Water, an award-winning nonfiction picture book, begins on a summer day as two young children kneel at a pond’s edge, peering intently at the turtle they are about to capture. (Not to worry – the turtle is gently released back into the pond at the end of the day.) Later, as they play at home, water “whirls” and “swirls” as steam rising above cups of cocoa and then becomes “a dragon in a wagon” in late-afternoon clouds.
The artistic talents of Vermont illustrator Jason Chin are vividly displayed in his renderings of children at play. His fall pictures are particularly eye-catching: children stand in a two-page swirl of red leaves while waiting for the school bus, barely visible through the fog. At this point, fog is described as nothing more than clouds that form low. Rain falls, and children gleefully “slosh in galoshes” as they run through puddles.
Winter arrives, and Chin shows the exuberance of children as they enjoy water as a winter snowfall and skate on the pond, now a frozen, icy playground. Spring warmth brings mud for the children to “Creep. Seep. Squish in your boots.” In late summer the children once again gather at the pond, now drinking freshly pressed apple cider.
In the final pages, Paul defines words like liquid, evaporation, condensation, and precipitation as she explains the transformation of water in the water cycle. Children will be intrigued to learn that they are about 65 percent water, an apple is 84 percent water, and a turtle is 70 percent water.
The rhyming text and lively illustrations will delight book lovers as young as four, while older children will also appreciate Paul’s clear introduction to the water cycle.