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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Whoosh! A watery world of wonderful creatures, written by Marilyn Bailiie and illustrated by Susan Mitchell. Owlkids, 2014. $ 17.95 ages 3 and up

"SHHH! I'm a great blue
heron fishing for my supper.
Silently, I keep watch through
the ripples. SPLASH! In a
flash, my long, strong beak
catches a wriggling fish.
SLURP! I swallow it

Get ready for some fun when you share this new book by Marilyn Baillie! She introduces her young audience to eleven creatures whose habitat is water; then, Susan Mitchell adds delightful watercolor artwork that captures children basking in the same joy the animals are feeling.

As dolphins play, leaping and talking with one other on the left hand side of the spread, two smiling boys do the same on the right side. The author is obviously aware of the endless interest that children have in the animal world, and she uses that knowledge to share tidbits meant to inform. It works brilliantly.

 The first person voice of the creatures included ensure rapt attention and mimicking of their actions:

"I am a water strider, but guess why I'm called the magic bug. I can race across lakes and ponds - my light body and long legs help me walk on water. Doesn't that seem like magic?"

To the right, we see an obviously smitten girl on a mattress pool float, toes and fingers dipped in calm waters. Lovely!

Each double page spread is designed to delight, and to provide quick fun facts. Read it once, read it again! Your audience is sure to want to try the various movements on display. The final page offers advice for water play, in the manners already shown. The preceding two page spread shows thumbnail sketches of each of the critters, accompanied by an additional tidbit of info for each one.

It's essential for our kids to recognize the importance of water in our daily lives, and to understand that it needs our protection from waste. It doesn't hurt that this book will help the adults in their lives to be aware of the same thing.

A perfect book to share on these warm spring days, as pools and parks open for family enjoyment.

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