I’m really excited to share my thoughts on Water Is Water, written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin. To put it simply, this picture book is beautiful. It’s the most beautiful concept PB I’ve read. I knew I was going to love it from the first spread.
Synopsis: Water is water until it takes another form, like steam, clouds, fog, and rain. The reader watches as a brother and sister experience different parts of the water cycle.
The poetic elements of this PB captured me right away. In the first nine words alone there’s assonance, consonance, and repetition. The words felt perfect as they rolled off my tongue. The first stanza reads “Drip. Sip. Pour me a cup. Water is water unless…” and the rest of the stanzas follow this same pattern. The rhythm of this book feels comforting and natural—like a cycle.
The page turns are awesome in this PB. Almost every spread ends with “unless…” The ellipsis builds suspense and makes the reader excited for what form the water will take next. I actually found myself guessing as I read, which made the next spread surprising and enjoyable. I can imagine kids guessing what’s next, too.
The illustrations are downright gorgeous. I love all the colors Chin uses to capture the beauty of nature. The cover alone is picturesque. Every other illustration is like that, too. This book is special because the pictures tell a story that is mostly separate from the words. The text never mentions the brother and sister, but we get a sense of who they are and what they are like as they experience the water cycle—adventurous, outdoorsy, playful animal lovers.
As if all of this wasn’t enough to send this PB to my list of favorites, the circular structure was the cherry on top. The book ends full circle where it began—with the water cycle and the characters’ actions—but everyone and everything has grown. So beautiful!
This work is an amazing work of art that every reader can learn from. Read it, read it, read it!