A child’s questions lead to a trip around the water cycle, with stops to examine erosion, aquifer misuse, and other hydrological topics.
Weyerhaeuser’s explanations are informative enough, but her distant illustrations and lecturing tone will keep readers at arm’s length. Clad in rain gear, the light-skinned mother and child face away from viewers (except in the final picture) as they pick their way along a river bank or examine pond water through a magnifying lens while bears and other wildlife look on. Most of the way they’re offstage anyway, as a view of our “blue planet” with tiny plants and animals within continental outlines gives way to natural scenes of mountains and rainbows, a glacier, a dinosaur (“How old is water, Momma?”), a delta, sedimentary layers, and stylized views of farms, factories, and clear-cut slopes. The child’s closing desire “to be good to the earth so our water can be here forever!” conveys a misleading notion that water could go somewhere else. Weyerhaeuser’s illustration style is naïve and childlike, its lack of depth appealing but also disorienting in panoramic views.
A smooth if not very memorable ride. (Informational picture book. 7-9)