In this extremely elementary introduction to Earth’s sources of fresh water, a simple sentence on each verso is matched by full-page watercolor art on the recto.
The watercolors are quietly exquisite, using pale washes for the land and water plus some intricately detailed flora and fauna. Most full-page illustrations, here called plates, include one animal, sometimes producing a bright spot of color. Each sentence is set in large, black print against a stark white background, making it nonthreatening to young readers. The bottom of each page of text offers a plate number for the art along with either a simple description—such as “dry stream bed”—or the name of the art’s specific location, such as “Rio Grande.” The name of any illustrated animal is also included. In most plates, it’s easy to identify the named animal, but one busy illustration presents seven with no labels, which may require that caregivers do a bit of research. It’s sequenced carefully, beginning with simple explanations of rivers and streams and moving on to such concepts as waterfalls, droughts, floods, erosion, and pollution. After a brief conclusion about the necessity of protecting rivers and streams, there follows an afterword with more complicated—but still appropriately simple—information about each plate, widening the age range from preschool into the early primaries.
This powerful conservation message is both accessible and lovely.(glossary, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 3-6)