Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis

Hey, Water! pictures the gift of water in all its forms, providing an accessible explanation of the water cycle for preschoolers.

Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis. Neal Porter Books (Holiday House), 2019, 38 pages.

Reading Level: Picture book, ages 0-4

Recommended for: ages 2-6

Hey, Water! I know you! You’re all around.

This entertaining and evocative picture book builds on its simple theme by introducing forms of water a preschooler wouldn’t necessarily think of. Whether in the house or out, in the sky or on the land, inside our own bodies or in the stem of a flower, water surrounds and nourishes our earth. The illustrations are simple yet artful, as one form of water morphs into the next: You spray up (shooting from a sprinkler) and down (gushing from a shower head). A serpentine trickle from a garden hose becomes the gurgle of a stream, flowing into surge of a river that rushes to the sea. Those are the obvious forms, but water also hides in clouds and fog, or slides down a cheek in a single tear. The text is easy enough for early readers to read to younger siblings, with key words emphasized in blue.

Following the main narrative is an explanation of the states of water and the water cycle, “repeated over and over again for millions of years.” Water is another example of God’s eternal power and divine nature, clearly seen (Romans 1:20) and calling for gratitude. The narrative answers the call by thanking water, not God, but discerning readers can easily correct that mistake.

Overall Rating: 3.75 (out of 5)

  • Worldview/moral value: 3
  • Artistic value: 5

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More at Redeemed Reader:

  • Also by Antoinette Portis: Now, a picture book that celebrates the extraordinary in every “ordinary” minute.
  • Stifle complaints about rain with This Beautiful Day!
  • Water is Water is an excellent book about the water cycle for slightly older children; see our starred review.

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Janie

Janie is the VERY senior staff writer for Redeemed Reader, as well as a long-time contributor to WORLD Magazine and an author of nine books for children. The rest of the time she's long-distance smooching on her four grandchildren (not an easy task). She lives with her equally senior husband of almost-fifty years in the Ozarks of Missouri.

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