In Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle, author Miranda Paul and illustrator Jason Chin effectively combine poetic textual elements with realistic watercolor illustrations to take the reader on a narrative journey with a brother and sister through the seasons. During each season, the brother and sister experience water in its various forms: fog in the air on their way to school, rain when they step off the school bus, and falling snow in the winter.
Paul uses poetic elements such as rhyme and onomatopoeia to create a rhythmic, sensory experience as the characters experience water in all of its forms. “Drip. Sip. Whirl. Swirl. Patter. Splatter.” Paul effectively evokes visual and auditory imagery to familiarize the reader with water in its various stages. Rather than using explicit academic language to explain the water cycle, Paul allows children to explore it for themselves by engaging them with familiar experiences and ideas about water in its stages.
While this is an informational text with the purpose of extend children’s learning about the water cycle, the content pertains to children’s familiar experiences with water in all of its forms to present the information in a way that is relatable and meaningful to children. Additionally, Chin’s realistic watercolor illustrations paint the story in a way that focuses on the brother and sister and their experiences with water and nature rather than focusing on the technical, scientific concepts surrounding the water cycle, thereby making ideas more accessible and meaningful to children.
As a future educator, I would recommend using this book in the classroom to begin teaching about the water cycle. The rhythmic text works in conjunction with child-centered illustrations to create a narrative about a brother and sister’s experiences with water throughout the year, and could provide a foundation for students thinking about their own experiences with water and how water changes from one form to another. The scientific content depicted in the book, when expressed through the lens of children’s experiences, becomes much more accessible and meaningful to students.