Anna, the youngest in a large family, desperately wants to carry her coffee can of water on her head.
She doesn’t yet have this skill that all her siblings have mastered. Why, Karen can even read while she carries a water container on her head, a detail noted in the exuberant paintings accompanying the simple text, ideal for reading aloud. There is another problem. Anna is afraid of the cows in Mr. Johnson’s field, near the spring. One day, when she is trailing way behind the others, Anna just starts running away from her bovine enemies (very peaceful creatures, as depicted in the illustrations). Her whole family comes to find her, and they all witness a grand sight: Anna running with her full can on her head and not spilling a single drop! James, of Antiguan background, allows her bold acrylic paintings in tropical colors to sprawl across wide double-page spreads of lush Caribbean landscapes. The hummingbirds and butterflies add a bit of whimsy to Anna’s cover portrait. While not mentioned in the text, the Jamaican flag is seen on the wall of a country store, and the author was born there.
When water easily comes out of a faucet, young readers rarely think about the difficult chore of carrying water, but they will empathize with Anna’s desire to reach an important milestone. (Picture book. 4-6)