Review: Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis

Hey, Water by Antoinette Portis

Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis (9780823441556)

This picture book takes a look at water in our lives. It includes rivers and lakes, puddles and streams. There is water we drink from a glass and water that we bathe in. Water is also in snow and ice, steam, clouds and fog. The little girl who leads readers through the exploration of water also thinks about water being inside of her and making up part of her too. Told in short sentences that make this ideal to use with preschoolers learning about the water cycle, the book ends with deeper looks at water, the cycle and how to conserve water yourself.

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.

Reviewed from copy provided by Neal Porter Books.

Review: Monkey & Cake Books

What Is Inside THIS Box by Drew Daywalt This Is MY Fort by Drew Daywalt

What Is Inside THIS Box? by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Olivier Tallec (9781338143867)

This Is MY Fort! by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Olivier Tallec (9781338143904)

These are the first two books in the rather surreal new easy-reader series Monkey & Cake. Monkey and Cake are friends. In the first book, Monkey has a big box that he won’t let Cake open. Inside the box is a cat, but it’s a cat that disappears when the box is opened. This bothers Cake immensely, certain that the cat must be imaginary. But is it? In the second book, Cake builds a fort that he won’t let Monkey enter. Monkey though finds another wild solution to the problem, declaring that the entire world then is Monkey’s fort and turning Cake’s fort into a trap of sorts. Soon it is Cake who is begging to share forts.

With the two premises being unique and fascinating questions about perspective, trust and ownership, this series is great fun but also unusually deep. Even the two characters are a delightful and rather zany mashup where pie is the snack of choice, definitely not cake! The writing is done entirely in dialogue, making the reading snappy and fast paced. There is little extraneous here, as it’s a concise look at big questions. Tallec’s art is bright and friendly. The two main characters are always center stage and interacting with one another, arguing as only friends can.

A wild and interesting new easy reader series. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copies.