A cool drink of water

Author: Barbara Kerley

Ages 4-8. Stunning photographs shine through this international tour of water gathering around the world. The spare text, only a few words per page, introduces the images–a boy fills a jug from a drainpipe; women in burqa balance brass pots on their heads. A concluding section expands briefly on each image’s location and story, and a final essay by John Fahey, National Geographic Society president and CEO, throws out dramatic statistics about water conservation. Despite this warning, however, the book’s gorgeous photos and minimal text misleadingly portray the earth’s water supply as clean, fresh, and drinkable; nothing indicates, for example, that the boy bending into the river next to the shimmering reflection of the Taj Mahal is probably filling his pot with deeply polluted water. Nonetheless, children will be entranced by the beautiful images of a basic substance that connects us all. Excellent for cross-cultural discussions.