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Monday, August 11, 2014

Water Can Laura Purdie Salas. Illustrations by Violeta Dabija. Millbrook Press, 2014. $19.95 ages 4 and up

"Water is water -
it's fog, frost and sea.
When autumn comes chasing,
water can be...

Cloud fluffer
Fire snuffer

School drink - er
Bruise shrinker"

It's hard to do justice to either the inspired poetry or the beautifully designed artwork without wanting to sit down beside you and just share it! In looking at water in all of its forms and uses, this team causes readers to stop, contemplate, reread and savor their extraordinary work. I can only tell you that you need to see it, and read it, and share it to fully appreciate its wonder.

There are so many things that water does for us. The two word labels inspire careful thought and imagination as the author shares with us her many evocative descriptions. I want to quote each couplet so that you can savor the language as I have done repeatedly. But, I won't do that....

The illustrations combine traditional and digital techniques, intense colors, changing moods and soft edges to inspire long looks and spirited conversation. They are paired beautifully. Here's to science, and to language! The book is sure to motivate young writers. The back matter contains even 'more about water' in notes that explain each entry while also using scientific vocabulary in keeping with the descriptive words. For example:

"Cloud fluffer: Clouds are made of water droplets that are so tiny they float! During the day, clouds can help cool Earth by blocking some of the sun's energy and heat. At night, they are like a blanket. They trap the sun's heat near the ground and keep Earth warm."

A glossary and suggestions for further reading bring it to an end. Read it once, read it again. Each time you will notice more than you did the last time. Give your mind free rein to think about other ways to describe what water can be...



  1. Thank you! I'm so glad you like this follow-up to A LEAF CAN BE... Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Thank you for your lovely review--working on this book with Laura and Violeta was a delight! One small correction--the price of the book is actually $17.95.