The Children’s Book Review | March 7, 2019
Written by Christy Hale
Age Range: 4-7
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (2018)
What to Expect: Interactive Format, Sensory Learning, Geography, Bonus Poster.
Sometimes, when it comes to non-fiction, less is definitely more. Christy Hale’s Water Land is simple in every sense: simple text, plain fonts, a simple and pared-down color palette, and simplified artwork. The value of this simplicity is not merely it’s beautiful aesthetic, however; through this dedication to simplicity Hale succeeds in turning a straightforward vocabulary primer into exploration of a complex geographical concept: the way in which land and water are interlinked and interdependent.
Water Land makes use of two key design features – a contrasting yellow and blue color palette, and cut-out pages – to visually demonstrate the way land and water balance one another on our planet. On one page, for example, a hole cut in the yellow sand of one page allows the blue water of the page beneath to show through, captioned by the single word “lake”. Turn the page, however, and that same cut-out now lies against a yellow background , showing an identically-shaped “island” in a sea of blue. The physical act of turning the page, therefore, helps to underscore the idea that land mirrors water, as well as providing multiple sensory stimuli to further aid information retention. At the end of the volume, Hale has included a full-sized pull-out poster with much more detailed information about each land/water formation, plugging any gaps that the simplicity of the rest of the volume might have left in the reader’s understanding. Without the poster this is a volume even a young pre-schooler can enjoy. With the poster, the volume is transformed into a valuable and engaging learning aid for older children as well, and would make a wonderful addition to any classroom bookshelf. A clever and well-designed volume, Water Land is a joy to read.
About the Author-Illustrator
Christy Hale has illustrated numerous award-winning books for children, including two that she also wrote: The East-West House: Noguchi’s Childhood in Japan and Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building. An art director, designer, and educator, Hale teaches writing for picture books at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She lives with her family in Palo Alto, California.
Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World, written and illustrated by Christy Hale, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Christy Hale, Geography, Non-Fiction, Picture Book, Science, and Water.