I love water in all its forms. For me, watching waves slap up on a beach is one of the most relaxing things in the world to do, even if it too cold to swim or sunbathe. Just the sound and sight of the moving water is a joy to experience. I think that today's poetry book captures the magic that is water beautifully, and it is a book that children and adults alike will enjoy reading, sharing, and exploring.
Water Music: Poems for Children
Photographs by Jason Stemple
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Wordsong, 2003, 978-1590782514
We often take water for granted, but it is a precious resource. Water covers more of our planet than land does, and like our planet, it makes up most of our bodies as well. Without it, life on earth would not be possible. The amazing thing about water is that it is essential, precious, and also very beautiful. Whether moving in a stream, resting peacefully in a lake, crashing as waves on a seashore, or hanging from the eves of houses as long icicles, it is a joy to look at.
In this beautifully presented book, Jane Yolen’s poems are paired with her son’s photographs to celebrate water in all its remarkable forms. We begin near a lake where the water “is a magic mirror,” which serves to capture an image of the “earth and sky.” Frozen water appears in the next poem where we see an icicle, which hangs “like frozen time.” Its colors and shape are so unique that “It is itself a poem.”
When we turn the page we leave behind water in its quiet forms, and come to a place where “the incoming tide / Flings its angry waves upon the shore.” Here the author knows that there is “no hiding place” from the waves, and so retreats to a place where the water will no longer be a threat.
In the next poem Water Jewels, we encounter water as little droplets sitting on the leaves of weeds. Here water is not in the form of huge waves of enormous power. Instead, water is a delight, beautiful thing, “raindrop diadems” that make our world more lovely.
A waterfall comes next, with words that tip down the page just like the water does in the accompanying photo. Pulled along by the fast moving water, “Leaves and sticks and twigs” get carried over the waterfall. The waterfall is a “rumbling, tumbling, cataracting fool,” which eventually lands in “its own quiet / pool.”
This is a wonderful book to share with children as it shows them the many forms that water takes. Sometimes water is peaceful and delicate, while at other times it is strong, powerful and awe-inspiring. Jane Yolen’s poems take many forms, and children and their grownups will wonder at the many remarkable ways that she finds to convey moments, places, and feelings so perfectly.