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Hey, Water! Kindle Edition
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|Age Level: 4 - 8||Grade Level: P - 3|
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From School Library Journal
★ "This simple introduction to water is an ideal read-aloud for the youngest scientists. Bold, beautiful, and equally simple illustrations are rendered with brush, sumi ink, and digital color. . . . Both school and public libraries will want this striking first science book on their shelves."—School Library Journal, Starred Review
"The text creates an easy-going, conversational tone while maintaining a good balance of scientific knowledge, everyday observation, and a child's perspective. . . . A handsome picture book that’s well suited to reading aloud, especially for classroom units on water." —Booklist
"Portis' latest picture book is a joyful, lyrical celebration of water. . . . Done with brush and sumi ink and then digitally colored, Portis' bold illustrations undulate on the page—raindrops roar and pour; dwarfing a whale, oceans surge (even on the endpapers). . . . An energetic and literary introduction to water science by the author/illustrator of the award-winning Not a Box (2006)."—Kirkus Reviews
"Portis narrates in a conversational tone— 'Hey, water! I know you! You're all around.' But her story tackles a tricky cognitive task—recognizing an element that masquerades in different states. . . . The same element can exist in several different forms, the words imply—our senses don't always tell us the truth about identity. Notes at the end with additional illustrations provide more information about states of matter, the water cycle, and conservation." —Publishers Weekly
"a lively celebration with enough factuality to be thought-provoking for youngsters just learning about earth science and conservation."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- File size : 47048 KB
- Print length : 48 pages
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Publication date : May 19, 2020
- Publisher : Neal Porter Books (May 19, 2020)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B07FZLFCH7
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Not Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #468,924 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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“Hey, water! I know you! You’re all around.” Our guide, a brown-skinned girl named Zoe, begins to list all the different ways you can encounter this essential resource. Whether it’s in your home, in large bodies of water, or as a teardrop falling from your eye, water is positively everywhere. Steam and fog. Snowmen and fish. Even in your own body! What’s the best thing to say after all of that? “Hey, water, thank you!” Backmatter includes in-depth explanations of water forms, the water cycle, different ways to best conserve water, and a small Bibliography of books to talk more about water, as well as some that contain hands-on water experiments.
I’m a little dense when it comes to good book design. But, like all other aspects of book creation, when it’s particularly well done it has a tendency to stand up and wait for you to take notice. I noticed. I noticed how the beginning of the book shows the water pouring down, then up, then down. I noticed the trickle morph effortlessly into a stream, then a river, with every page turn until the water poured all over the page (no border in sight) as an ocean. I even noticed how Portis’s perspective manages to slowly pull in, so that you go from lake to pool to puddle to dewdrop to tear. None of these choices are happenstance. Each one has been carefully considered and put into action using the artist’s brush and sumi ink (combined with digital coloring). I remember when Portis debuted years ago, back in 2006, with her remarkable “Not a Box” (which remains in print to this day). In those days she brought a simplicity of form to her books, along with some thick black lines. Since that time her range has expanded. She begins this book with similar lines, but then as you read you come across mist and fog. You see when she made the decision to make the snowflakes white balls on a blue background or blue balls on a white background. And look at how she made the dewdrop ever so slightly translucent, all with her brushwork. A book that has had care and time poured into its pages exudes that love when you read it. There is not a drop of paint or a flick of a brush out of place here.
One of my colleagues is particularly enthused by science books for kids. It was she who pointed out to me that while the art of this book is great, it’s the text that gives it that little extra oomph, allowing it to stand heads and shoulders over the competition. Why? Well, let’s talk about trends in nonfiction picture books for a second. There’s been a real push recently for publishers to churn out more STEM related books for younger readers. Publishers have complied, but some noticed that the wider the ages of your audience, the better your book will sell. So the trend is to create a picture book on a nonfiction subject with text for older readers in the main body of the book, and then to also have text for younger readers either at the bottom of the page or on the side. The idea is that you can then sell it to all sorts of kids. Smart thinking but it can lead to awkward juxtapositions. Sometimes it’s the younger text that’s prominent with miniscule type layered in odd crevices on the page for the older kids. Sometimes it’s confusing and when you read both texts it feels disjointed. Surely there’s a way to do it that’s seamless. You know where I’m going with this.
In “Hey, Water!” Portis is taking this trend in nonfiction book publishing and improving upon it. You might not even notice on a first or second read, but each page contains one large word that describes what you’re thinking. “River”. “Iceberg.” “Bug”. So, basically, you could read these words with a very small child and wait to read the rest of the text until they’re older. The “older” text, for the record, is also supremely simple. It’s tackling big ideas with simple words and images, which is always one of the hardest jobs to do in this business. Most of the text is perfectly placed. There is, however, one moment where the book likens an iceberg to a rock, and then jokes that it’s a rock that can float or a rock you can skate on. I could see some scientifically minded gatekeepers not caring much for that, saying that it misleads children into thinking that ice is rocks. A minor quibble. For my part, I discovered that if you take the backmatter into account, this book is almost for three different reading levels, rather than two. After all, the explanation of water forms, the water cycle, conserving water, and the Bibliography are all better suited for older kids (or, more likely, parents that forgot all this stuff years ago and need to answer their 3-year-old’s question about precipitation). In the end, this book is supremely smart. Shall I entertain a prediction about it then? If this book is not turned into a board book with those simple words and images in the next year or so, I will eat my hat. Eat it with salt and butter and a little droplet of sauvignon blanc on the side.
One thing that did confuse me about the book was no fault of the book itself. As I turned pages I kept expected die-cuts. Weird, right? Maybe it was the fact that this book reminded me of the work of Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Maybe I just felt a die-cut would have been appropriate. It was only after I’d pondered this puzzle for a little while that I realized the answer. In 2018 the extremely talented Christy Hale produced the nonfiction picture book, “Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World”. A book replete with, you guessed it, die-cuts. Like Portis’s title, Hale is unafraid to zoom in and back up from different bodies of water. Unlike Portis, Hale is far more interested in how water intersects with land. Consider it a companion book to this one then. Both have a vested interest in informing young children about water around the world. Their focus is just a bit skewed from one another.
The moral of the story? Remember the little children. Remember that they deserve as many books as their elders. I’ll admit that with the increased scrutiny on nonfiction books for kids, we’re seeing a level of artistry, previously restricted to fiction, coming out on a wide array of various nonfiction subjects. The days when publishers would churn out rote, dull books on the subjects teachers needed are far from gone. Still, little glinting gems like “Hey, Water!” are becoming increasingly common. Perhaps they can win awards. Perhaps they can win hearts and minds. And maybe, just maybe, some little kid out there will read this book and, for whatever reason, love it dearly. Hey, Portis! You made a really good book.
For all ages.
The book has a jaunty and energetic tone, inviting readers to explore water around themselves too. The book pairs its short sentences with larger words that tell what is being described and invite young listeners to guess and interact with the images and text. Portis’ illustrations are filled with blues and greens that range from deep lake blue to the lightest of ice blues. White and gray add to the color palette with rain, snow and fog.
A welcome addition to STEM books for preschoolers, this one is a refreshing drink on a hot day. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Recommendation: For the science-minded teacher and parent, this book fulfills a clear goal of sharing the importance of water in a picture book.
Must Read literature: K thru YA is comprised of librarians and teachers who provide quality, non biased reviews for parents and educators. Reviewer: Martha Squaresky