A Drop of Water by Gordon Morrison.
I always enjoy well-done children’s nonfiction, and this is certainly a nicely done book. It is a study of the water cycle from puddles to clouds to the mountain and then returning to the puddle. But the best part is that it not only focuses on the water but also on the different species of birds, animals and plants that live at each stage on the mountain and down to the stream and pond. It reinforces that life is dependent upon water in its many stages and that the environment is all interconnected. And it does that without lecture or preaching and with a light enjoyable touch.
The illustrations of the book are beautiful. They are line drawings with patches of color that show the water, the animals and the plants. They are highlighted on the page, a blank canvas on which the world of the water is the focus.
This is recommended as a great read aloud for children who prefer nonfiction. It is a nice book to read with a small group or one-on-one because of the detail in the illustrations. Children will delight in finding the birds hidden in the trees and the exact plants mentioned in the text.
The Most Important Gift of All by David Conway, illustrated by Karin Littlewood.
Ama is a little girl who lives in Africa. She has a new little baby brother and decides that she needs to give him a gift. Her grandmother tells her that the most important gift she can giver her brother is love, so Ama sets off to find love. She asks the weaverbird, the giraffe, and finally an old lion who tells her that “as sure as the rain comes, you will always know love when you have found it.” Ama’s father finds her and returns her to the village where they celebrate the birth of her brother with a special meal and songs. And the rain comes.
This is a lovely picture book with richly colored paintings as illustrations. The depth of the night out under the baobob tree and the brightness of the following day are marvelous. The illustrations truly add another dimension to the book. The language of the writing is also rich and deep, creating a believable world where lions can give advice to small children and there is a certain safety to the wildness of the world.
Share this one with kindergarteners and first graders who may be welcoming their own new siblings. It reads aloud well, but is also a nice lap book to share.