CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 14 . . . . December 4, 2009
Janice Poon's Claire and the Water Wish is the second instalment in Kids Can Press' "Claire" graphic novel series. Claire and the Water Wish picks up where Claire and the Bakery Thief left off. The summer is over, and it is time for Claire Townsend to begin school at her new location in the country. Claire is missing her old friends at Bigville Public School, but her friend, Jet Diaz, helps Claire to settle into her new school. Unfortunately for Claire, Jet's attention is distracted elsewhere when Jet wins a camera. Jet begins taking photographs of the more popular students, leaving Claire feeling neglected and alone until she befriends Sky Rivers.
Sky tells Claire that the lake beside her community is polluted and that people are becoming sick because of the pollutants. One day when Sky and Jet are together, the two girls observe and photograph a truck from the hog farm company, Megapig Feedlots, dumping waste into the lake. As was the case in Claire and the Bakery Thief, Claire and her dog, Bongo, again come to the rescue.
Claire and the Water Wish closely resembles the format of its predecessor. The book is attractively presented and features sturdy, durable binding and a strong hard cover. All of the illustrations are greyscale and are generally simple pictures devoid of potentially distracting background details. The book is over one hundred pages in length, but most pages have only a limited amount of text. Most pages have three or four separate panels or images, although there are a number of full-page pictures sprinkled throughout the book. As was the case in the first book, Claire again keeps a diary in this one, and so there are a few diary entries inserted into the narrative. The end pages of the book contain suggestions for three craft activities related to Jet's passion for photography.
Although simple and predictable, Claire and the Water Wish is a fun story. The book contains some important environmental messages about pollution and conservation. The book also contains strong messages about friendship and loyalty.
Unlike the first book in the series, in Claire and the Water Wish, the book cover is predominantly pink. The book is aimed at young girls and, with the intelligent and feisty Claire as the protagonist, the book will be a popular choice for girls in the early stages of independent reading.
Gregory Bryan teaches children's literature in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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