Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE WATER HOLE by Graeme Base


by Graeme Base & illustrated by Graeme Base

Age Range: 4 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8109-4568-1
Publisher: Abrams

After the comic futuristic chronicle The Worst Band in the Universe (1999), Base returns to his Animalia (1987) roots. In big, natural scenes teeming with realistic detail, animals gather in increasing numbers around a waterhole that not only shifts from continent to continent with each turn of the page, but shrinks too, until “Ten Kangaroos” find only a dusty pit. Along with a superfluous die-cut hole, the artist adds a similarly shrinking crew of increasingly concerned-looking tropical frogs—some clad in bathing suits or pearls—to each spread, plus animal forms concealed within patterns of bark, rock, and foliage for the sharp of eye to pick out. It all makes an absorbing visual feast, and the ominous ecological theme is optimistically capped by a rainfall that restores the waterhole, bringing back many of the animals for a grand finale. This eye-filling, not altogether earnest counting book/consciousness-raiser will draw an unusually wide, and wide-eyed, audience. (Picture book. 4-9)