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WATER CAN BE . . .  by Laura Purdie Salas Kirkus Star


by Laura Purdie Salas ; illustrated by Violeta Dabija

Pub Date: April 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4677-0591-2
Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

In a look at the forms, functions and uses of water, Salas and Dabija turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

The simple text and spot-on rhymes belie the sophistication of the inherent message behind the verse—water is a life-giver. It creates the weather, quenches thirst, is a habitat for animals, helps the plants and trees grow, both cools and insulates, fights fires, soothes injuries and beautifies the Earth in myriad ways. Mentioning only spring and autumn by name, the pictures nonetheless cycle through all four seasons. “Water is water— / it’s puddle, pond, sea. / When springtime comes splashing, / the water flows free. // Water can be a… / Tadpole hatcher / Picture catcher // Otter feeder / Downhill speeder // Garden soaker / Valley cloaker.” Dabija’s illustrations, created with a combination of traditional and digital techniques and filled with simple shapes and vivid, vibrant colors, are misty, scratchy, sometimes-impressionistic, always atmospheric—in a word, beautiful. Even older elementary students will welcome the shimmering pairings of words and artwork, their teachers using this as both a science lesson and a writing exercise—can students write as poetically, economically and informatively as Salas? Backmatter extends the poetic hints in brief paragraphs (“Rainbow jeweler” describes how rainbows form, for example).

Kids of all ages will gain a new appreciation for water, and Salas and Dabija will surely gain new fans.

(glossary, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-10)