Water is a Precious Thing

Saturday, March 22, 2014 is World Water Day

CIMG6942I love the water. I love to splash in the pools in the river. I love to feel it raining down on me. I love to drink and slurp it. I love to shake it all over everything. Water is a precious thing. We live in a place that doesn’t get a whole lot of water raining down. We do happy dances when rain comes. Rain makes the river flow with JOY. Rain makes grass and flowers pop out all over. Rain means our well won’t run dry. Water is a very precious thing. My Mom Person worries when the rains don’t come. She worries when the river goes dry and the trees start to die. She worries when she passes by houses with sprinklers going. She likes living here at the 7 Acre Wood, but she likes the rains to come.

IMG_0286Water conservation is a really important thing. Water is precious. I understand that there are some places in the world that have more water than they can deal with. And there are some places that have less water than what we get here in Glen Rose, Texas. There are people in some parts of the world who don’t have clean water to drink and bathe in. That’s a sad thing. Water is sooooo precious.

I have a book about water. It’s a cute book about a summer day in the life of a city park where water is an important part of the daily cycle.

IMG_4745Water in the Park

written by Emily Jenkins
illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
published by Schwartz & Wade Books in 2013

A note from the author about the story reads –

“The story comes from my spending early mornings and evenings in Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, New York, one summer when we had many, many ninety-eight-degree days. I watched the people and thought about the way the park’s water is used differently by all the inhabitants of the neighborhood, human and animal.”

This neighborhood seems to have plenty of water. The people here do not seem to worry about a lack of water. But the water in the park is precious to them nonetheless.

The story begins in the early morning when the park is quiet and empty and the turtles come out of the pond to sun themselves on the rocks. Then the dog walkers come to let their dogs have a romp in the pond. They are very lucky dogs!! As the day progresses the neighborhood awakens and more and more people come to enjoy the park. They play in the pond and the sprinkler pool. They drink from the water fountains. Kids fill water balloons and pour buckets of water in the sandbox. They pour water down the slide to cool it off. Birds and squirrels come to play and bathe in the water. Workers come to water the gardens. The pond and the fountains are a haven for everyone. At the end of the day the rains come. Everything in the park is now wet with glorious water. Water is a precious thing for sure!!

IMG_4747I really liked this book. It’s not a conservation book. It’s kind of like you’re sitting on a park bench watching the day go by. But the day is filled with water. And I like a day filled with water. The illustrations are great with lots of details to catch the eye. I will be looking out for more books by both Ms Jenkins and Ms Graegin.

There are quite a few organizations that work to provide clean drinking water for people around the world who are without this most precious commodity.
Living Water International
Goodnet.org has a list of seven non-profit organizations that provide safe water solutions for developing countries. You can check out the list HERE.

I am submitting this post to The Small Fry Safari Reading Challenge at The Bookshelf Gargoyle as an entry for Category # 6, A book with something PRECIOUS in the title.

I recently did a post about a Listening Walk. What about a Water Walk? How far would you go for Water?

Enjoy YOUR Water Day!
Your friend at the river

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Voices in the Park

Parks are wonderful places. We have some parks in Glen Rose that we visit sometimes. No dog parks, but dogs are allowed at the parks. One of the parks is kind of a historical place. There are buildings there from hundreds of years ago. This park is by the river and there is a nice walkway that meanders along beside the water. There is a playground and picnic tables and benches – places to let some wildness out or just to sit and contemplate.

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Another park is the soccer park. All the soccer fields are there and it can be a pretty busy place. There is also a playground for the kids and a track that meanders around the whole park for walkers and joggers. We go here often to walk with friends. This park is next to a big place where they have horse shows and rodeos and dog shows, so there are always interesting smells and sounds.

Parks are great places for all kinds of activities – running and playing, meeting up with friends, making new friends, having picnics, enjoying nature, reading a book or just enjoying some quiet moments all to yourself.

IMG_4777Anthony Browne wrote a great book about a park – Voices in the Park. It was published in 1998 by DK Publishing, Inc. That year it won the Kurt Maschler Award for a “work of imagination for children, in which text and illustration are integrated so that each enhances and balances the other.”

This is an incredible book on so many levels. It’s a story about how differently people see the world around them. It’s about how things may look one way on the outside, but be very different on the inside. It is the story of a day at the park from four different points of view. It begins with the Mother, an upper class, snobby gorilla lady who decides to take her son, Charles and their pedigree Labrador, Victoria to the park. She is not happy about anything at the park. Victoria is chased by a scruffy mongrel. There are frightful types in the park, and Charles disappears. She sees him talking to a rough looking child and orders him to come back to her. They walk home in silence. There are no smiles.

The Second voice belongs to a Father who decides to take his child, Smudge and their dog to the park. He spends his time sitting on the bench with the grumpy Mother looking through the newspaper for a job. Smudge is happy, the dog is happy, they all enjoy their time at the park and chatter together all the way home.

The Third voice is that of Charles. He seems a shy, reluctant boy but makes a new friend in Smudge. He hopes that she will be there the next time he goes.

The Fourth voice is that of Smudge. Smudge is the essence of joy.

IMG_4779In all of the illustrations, you see all the other characters and how they interact in the story. The two dogs are having a grand ole time running and chasing each other. The kids have a grand ole time playing together. But there is so much more going on in the pictures! When the Mother is shouting for Charles, the trees are shouting too. When the Father and Smudge are walking to the park, their neighborhood is dark and dreary with homeless people on the sidewalk. When they walk home there are cheery lights in the trees and buildings and the homeless people are dancing. In one picture of Smudge and Charles sitting on a park bench, Charles’s half of the picture is dark and dreary and Smudge’s half is sunny and bright.

Each voice is also presented in a different font. The Mother’s is a rather formal font, The Father’s is big and bold. Charles’s font is thin and almost invisible. The font for Smudge is happy-go-lucky.

Mr Browne is an absolute genius! We read this book with some 4th graders and they were mesmerized – searching for all the little subtleties in the pictures. A very engaging tale!

I have written about Mr Browne before HERE, HERE, and HERE, if you are interested in seeing more of him.

I wish for you a lovely day in the park! Keep your eyes and ears open to all around you!


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