In celebration of the opening of Roberts Pool in June, here are a few recommendations on water-themed children's books for your little ones this summer.
poems by Joan Bransfield Graham, illustrations by Steve Scott
“Water is a magic potion” begins this marvelous book of concrete poetry.
Concrete poems visually convey the poet’s intentions through the graphic arrangement of letters, words or symbols. (Famous examples of concrete poets include ee cummings and Ezra Pound.)
Poems in this collection describe many kinds of water, from pools, lakes, and rivers to crocodile tears and popsicles. A poem about steam depicts the letters rising above a pot on the stove; another poem, “Dew,” shows words written in the shape of dew drops on leaves.
Reading these poems will surely inspire serious contemplation of water and will inspire you to enjoy its many states.
Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe
written and illustrated by Vera B. Williams
Although this book is more than 20 years old, it remains a classic celebration of family and nature. Its young female narrator describes her first canoe trip with her mother, Aunt Rosie and cousin Sam.
As with any memorable trip, there are mishaps and adventures—the family must portage, carrying gear up and down beside a waterfall; a hurricane-strength rain pours down; their canoe overturns.
Despite these events, the group finds much to celebrate. They catch fish, tell stories beneath the stars and see a rainbow. They even spend a night without mosquitoes! (Imagine that.)
Within the narrative are helpful tips any outdoorsy person can use, including rope-tying lessons and recipes for cooking over an open fire. After reading this book, you might be tempted to spend a few days on the water and a few nights under the stars with your family as well.
Out of the Ocean
written and illustrated by Debra Frasier
In this paean to the ocean filtered through her own experiences, Debra Frasier shares the joys of beachcombing.
With her mother as guide, the female narrator searches the beach for treasures big and small. She finds feathers, egg pouches, rope and sea glass—things you can carry. Her mother reminds her that, on the beach, you can also find sun, silver moonlight and the sound of waves. Those intangible items are “treasures” as well.
The author balances photographs with bright, bold illustrations and includes an ocean journal in the back pages that offers a great deal of information about all the objects found on the beach. Whether as author or narrator, Frasier's voice encourages her readers to investigate and appreciate nature’s gifts.
In the Small, Small Pond
written and illustrated by Denise Fleming
Young children will adore this fun catalogue of the many animals found in ponds. With a rhythmic beat and onomatopoeia, we see different animals, such as herons, plunging into the pond, while minnows scatter and whirligigs twirl.
In the Small, Small Pond subtly follows the change of seasons: eventually, fall and winter approach and the animals begin preparing their winter homes. The large illustrations and their bold colors make this book visually appealing.
As a follow-up, families may also find it interesting to take a trip to Newton Lake to compare the animals in the book with those that can be sighted there.