“Water Can Be…” by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Violeta Dabija is a poetic paean to what may be our most essential natural resource. Ms. Salas’ rhyming prose is sparse but in the flow of the book it is also soothing, and through it she manages to impart quite a bit of information about all the ways in which we use, or see, or benefit from water. As the book moves from season to season, we are shown how water can be a “thirst quencher,” a “kid drencher,” a “cloud fluffer,” and a “fire snuffer,” among other things.
Adding to the comforting feeling of the book are Ms. Dabija’s dreamy illustrations, which fill each page with color and often make the reader feel as though she is viewing the scene through a watery mist. The scenes laid out on each page are wonderful sources for interaction, as you can discuss with younger children how it is that water is playing a role in each picture (why do you think water is a “decorator” in this picture?…a “ship breaker” in this picture?).
As anyone who follows our blog knows, we are fans of picture books that can blend entertainment with information about how the real world around us works. Ms. Salas’ book certainly fits that bill. We especially like the pages at the end of the book (“more about water”) that provide further explanation for each of the illustrations – for example, talking about how the water that forms snow can be a “woodchuck warmer” by providing a soft blanket to cover his burrow and keep out the cold air as he hibernates. There is also a glossary of water-related terms, and some suggested “further reading”.
Ms. Salas actually has quite a few picture books about nature, including “A Leaf Can Be…” and “A Rock Can Be…”. For anyone interested in hearing more about her work from the author herself, we suggest checking out her upcoming online Author Event in March, hosted by Read Aloud Revival. They do a great job with these events, as we have mentioned here before when discussing Jonathan Bean and Anne Ursu.