Portis’ latest picture book is a joyful, lyrical celebration of water.
In it, protagonist Zoe (the name is revealed only at the end of the book) realizes that water is “all around” and discovers it everywhere: in her home, in nature, in her community, and in herself (“sometimes you slide down my cheek without a sound”). From page to page and, subtly, through the seasons, she engages in a game of hide-and-seek with water’s many states—from ice (“Sometimes you freeze hard as a rock—a rock that floats, / or a rock we can skate on”) to steam (“Water, even when you try to fool me, I know you. You blast and huff. You whistle and puff”). Through it all, as she declares at the end, “water, I know it’s you!” Done with brush and sumi ink and then digitally colored, Portis’ bold illustrations undulate on the page—raindrops roar and pour; dwarfing a whale, oceans surge (even on the endpapers). Words describing the different types of water celebrated (“shower”; “puddle”; “fog”) are printed in a large font that harmonizes with the illustrations’ brushy look. The picture book also includes informative backmatter: an illustration of the water cycle, a manifesto to conserve water, and a list of additional resources about water and water experiments. Zoe has brown skin and straight, black hair.
An energetic and literary introduction to water science by the author/illustrator of the award-winning Not a Box (2006). (Picture book. 3-7)