Antoinette Portis. London: Scallywag Press, hb 978 1 9126 5026 2, 2020, £12.99, 32pp.
Picture book, non-fiction, 4+ years
This is a well-illustrated non-fiction picture book with simple illustrations using limited colour palettes to show children where water is around them.
From tap to stream and lake, the reader learns all about water. However, as a really nice little sub-context here we get a little description of that water. For instance, when it becomes an ice cube we are told, ‘sometimes you freeze hard as rock’ or when the water is a dewdrop, ‘In the morning, you wink at me from blades of grass’.
The illustrations are as simple as a stroke of paint from a loaded paintbrush. However, that simplicity works so well in describing the grass, the lake, the ocean and the stream. Very clever! A limited colour palette of blue, green and white and later red, describe the scenes beautifully.
Ultimately, the reader learns about water forms, conserving water and the water cycle on the penultimate double-page spread. Whilst on the final spread before the endpaper one learns how to have fun with water before testing one’s knowledge in a short and simple true or false quiz.
This is a non-fiction book that uses a strong narrative throughout which only adds to its magical quality and the precious beauty that is, water.
Review by Karenanne Knight