Our World of Water

Our World of Water: Children and Water around the World by Beatrice Hollyer

This book focuses on one of the world’s most precious things: water.  Water and its use is seen through the eyes of six children who live around the world.  From Peru to Mauritania, from Tajikistan to Ethiopia, from the United States to Bangladesh, each child uses water to bathe and drink, but there the similarities end as we see deserts and monsoons.  Hollyer’s use of bright, clear photographs helps to bring our understanding of our own relationship with water into clarity as we also learn about the hardships of other cultures from other parts of the world. 

Hollyer’s photographs are windows into the lives of these children.  They show their homes, siblings, families, and daily lives.  Though it focuses on water, readers will also get a sense of the overall culture as they read.  Hollyer has written the prose with simplicity and a great feel for the young reader.  There is just enough detail to be easy to read and interesting. 

Expect a lot of conversation after sharing this with a group of children or even one child.  This is a winning look at our world and our water.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

Stick Man

 

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

Stick Man lives in his family tree with his Stick Lady Love and their three stick children.  One morning when out for an early morning jog, he is seized by a dog and used to play fetch.  Then a girl finds him and uses him for a game of Pooh Sticks.  On his misadventures go as he is woven into a swan’s nest, used as a mast for a flag on a sand castle, and many more things.  The seasons change and he becomes the arm of a snowman until finally he is laid in the fireplace as a perfect piece of kindling.  But never fear, someone approaches with a Ho-ho-ho who will make sure that Stick Man gets back to his family.

Donaldson’s words are a delight to read aloud.  She has refrains that repeat as Stick Man is captured by the next person.  She uses rhythm throughout the book to create a brisk pace and jauntiness.  With her style, there is no fear that the repetition in the storyline will become stale.  Scheffler’s illustrations reflect that same jaunty, energetic quality.  They are funny and clever.  I found myself charmed by small details like the Stick Lady’s hair and skirt.  His illustrations gently mark the change in seasons from spring through to Christmas. 

While this is a Christmas book in the end, it is also just a delightful read that could work for talk about the seasons.  It would also make a great inspiration story for children to build their own characters from sticks, twigs, leaves and pipe cleaners.  What fun!  A brilliant read-aloud, this book deserves a spot on the crowded Christmas shelves.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.