October 15, 2017

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Agua, Agüita/Water, Little Water by Jorge Tetl Argueta | SLJ Review

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redstarARGUETA, Jorge Tetl. Agua, Agüita/Water, Little Water. tr. from Spanish by Gabriela Baeza Ventura. illus. by Felipe Ugalde Alcántara. 28p. Piñata. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781558858541. BL

PreS-Gr 2 –This poem, set in the first person, explores the water cycle from the perspective of “Agüita” or “Little Water,” the preferred nickname of water. Little Water explains to readers how they (water drops) rise from the depths of the ocean and travel through “light and darkness” to rest “on the tips of leaves,” to become a part of the atmosphere, and, eventually, to return to Earth as rain. Argueta captures the fleeting, indescribable nature of water: “I am all colors/and have no color./I am all flavors/and have no flavor.” At the end of the cycle, Little Water returns singing to Earth: “I am life.” Alcántara’s vibrant stylized illustrations are especially effective in portraying the myriad forms, colors, and textures that water can take on—drops glistening on leaves; a blue-and-white river rolling forth from a mountain; and a purple, orange, and red ocean at sunset. Ventura’s Spanish translation expertly replicates the rhythm of the English text. A Nahuat translation is included at the end of the book. VERDICT A lyrical journey though the water cycle, sure to inspire the imaginations of young readers and listeners. Pair with Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm’s Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Moves Water Around the Earth.–Tim Wadham, Children’s Literature Consultant, Puyallup, WA

This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2017 issue.

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