Twelve children from different areas of the world offer lyrical reflections on what water means to them.
To Delaunois’ fictive cast water invariably sparks positive feelings—even for a Catalan lad watching his village being flooded by a dam “for the sake of new power, / the reservoir that holds the energy to light up distant cities. / For me,” he concludes, “water is the night that blazes like day.” It is valued in places where it is a scarce resource too: to a Moroccan desert child water is “a cup of mint tea,” and it’s “an outstretched hand” from a tank truck for a child in drought-stricken Mauretania. Though the specific locale of each young speaker is keyed only by a watermarked version of “Water is life” embedded in the illustration that is translated into his or her script and language (identified in a list at the end), Frischeteau varies the skin color and, albeit in an idealized way, facial features of his human figures. He also often adds characteristic wildlife, national dress, or other cues to each locale. Following an unborn child’s “For me, water is the song of my mother: / the ocean of her belly where I am transforming myself,” the author concludes that “for all of us, water is a matter of life.”
A tribute to the essential substance, washed free of preachiness or even faintly cautionary messages. (Picture book. 6-8)