cover image Hey, Water!

Hey, Water!

Antoinette Portis. Holiday House/Porter, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4155-6

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. Clean graphic spreads mimic a map, with aerial views of water on the surface of the Earth in the matte palette that Portis (Not a Box) fans know. Each watery object—“stream,” “river,” “ocean”—is captioned in block letters with running text that conveys the actions of liquid water: “You trickle... and gurgle... and rush toward the sea.” But water is more complicated than this: “Water, even when you try to fool me, I know you.” It can hang suspended in midair as vapor (“You hide in the air and drift”) or be solid as “a rock that floats,” or “soft as a feather and fancier than lace. But water, I know it’s you!” 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. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary. (Mar.) [/em]