A Drop of Water (Review)
Updated: Nov 21
Author and Illustrator: Walter Wick
Publisher: Scholastic Press, 1997
Interest Level: Preschool to Grade 3 (and beyond)
Reading Level: Lexile 870
Retail: $19.99, Hardcover
Summary: Explore water in all its forms through beautiful photographs and a narrative written in a conversational tone that is easy to read. The last two pages of the book have experiments and questions for children to explore.
It's really saying something when a book published over 20 years ago is still readily available and in its original jacketed hardcover. This book is big to hold, and the images pop out of the pages thanks to its amazing photography. The natural beauty of water in liquid, solid, and vapor form need no retouch. The images are barely edited.
Extreme closeups allow children to see drops of water on the head of a pin, grains of salt absorbed by condensation, and snowflakes in their frozen glory. Other images show water drops, ice, soap bubbles (including a spiral and a cube!), and lacy tendrils of frost on a window. Concepts that can be difficult for children to grasp because they are not easily visible are demonstrated through clever photographic sequences. Surface tension, for instance, explains why a paintbrush dipped in water looks different than one lifted up into the air. Capillary attraction is demonstrated with a simple image of small glass tubes. Molecular motion is experienced as we watch a drop of blue-dyed water in a jar slowly disperse. Condensation and evaporation are shown and easily understandable with the use of ordinary household items.
You might not look at this book and think of it as a read-aloud, but that is exactly how I first discovered it. The text is concise and direct, but not impersonal (the subtitle is "A Book of Science and Wonder." There are just enough words on each page to allow for a long, close look at each photograph as an adult reads.
Children reading independently can absorb the information at their own pace, and may even be inspired to try some of the simple activities at the end of the book. There is no risk of this one being rejected for looking like a babyish picture book.
Do yourself a favor and add this to title your library. Casually leave it on the table and see how many children and adults are instantly drawn into it. Read it yourself and learn a little something about the water all around us.
This book may be purchased at Bookshop.org