CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 28. . . .March 31, 2017
Water’s Children: Celebrating the Resource That Unites Us All.
Angèle Delaunois. Illustrated by Gérard Frischeteau. Translated by Erin Woods.
Toronto, ON: Pajama Press, 2017.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
Water supply-Juvenile literature.
Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.
Review by Jill Griffith.
Reviewed from F&Gs.
CHILD OF HERE, child of there, child of water…
tell me about the water you see, the water you
drink, the water that bathes you.
So begins an international love letter to the importance of water in the lives of children around the world. Via translations from 12 different languages, a child on each page describes how water is life, and a watermark appears on every page in the language of places like Quebec, Brazil, Mauritania and Russia, handily sending readers from one page to the next to learn “water is life” 12 different ways.
Because the book is beautifully illustrated in vibrant colours, readers can vividly see how children live around the world. Gérard Frischeteau, a well-known animator, commercial artist and illustrator from Montreal, QC, is billed as a perfectionist, and it shows in the authenticity of the children and their environments on each double-page spread. Indeed, it is the children who catch the reader’s eye as each tells their story. Both the text and the illustrations serve to unify the world in a common theme, something that isn’t often done well in children’s books, but is done in both a matter of fact and sensitive way by Delaunois and Frischeteau.
The text is poetic and would be wonderful read-aloud with, by and for children to demonstrate that water doesn’t just flow out of a tap. Water is often taken for granted, and Water’s Children is a unique way to introduce the importance of water throughout the world. Set to be published on Earth Day 2017, it is destined to become a new classic – it was originally issued as Les enfants de l’eau and translated into eight languages in editions around the world. The text invites conversation, each page starting with “For me, water is…” extending the reach of the story past the final cover.
The final page of Water’s Children teaches the reader the languages and regions covered in the book, and the endpapers are swirling blues, mauves and whites of water, reminding the reader of the beauty, necessity and power of water in our world.
Jill Griffith is the Youth Services Manager at Red Deer Public Library in Red Deer, AB.
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