Almost Nothing, Yet Everything by Hiroshi Osada, illustrated by Ryoji Arai (9781592703579)
The author/illustrator team who created Every Color of Light returns with a picture book celebrates a different element: water. A parent and child head off on a journey along the waterways. Water has no color of its own, but can be any color based on where it is. It forms to any shape, but you can’t slice it or hold it in your hands. It reflects us back when we look into it and also the sky and clouds. It flows, rains, cascades and overflows. It is simple, but vital to life on earth.
Translated from the original Japanese, this picture book is beautifully poetic. It looks at the many aspects of water through the eyes of a child who is interacting with it on a journey along the river. The ending of the book adds a child’s question about whether water is the pee-pee of the gods. After such a lyrical poem, the question is marvelous in its honesty, simplicity and wonder.
Arai’s illustrations are exceptional. Filled with the beauty of water, they capture it both in its impact on landscapes and as it flows through one’s fingers. The large landscapes are deep green and dramatic while the close ups are personal and capture small moments of discovery. The combination of the two make the importance of water in our lives clear.
Another winning elemental picture book from Japan. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy provided by Enchanted Lion Books.