Water Boy

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Beloved illustrator McPhail offers a child's magical view of the natural world.

When a little boy overcomes his fear of water, fantastic things begin to happen: The birds who live by the sea bring him treasures, the waves sing to him, and suddenly, he is able to perform incredible tricks, like parting or purifying water. He uses his special powers to transform not only ...
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Beloved illustrator McPhail offers a child's magical view of the natural world.

When a little boy overcomes his fear of water, fantastic things begin to happen: The birds who live by the sea bring him treasures, the waves sing to him, and suddenly, he is able to perform incredible tricks, like parting or purifying water. He uses his special powers to transform not only himself, but also the world around him.

Award-winning author and illustrator David McPhail uses his exquisite paintings and a touch of magic to illustrate the connection between people and nature and to encourage young readers to help take care of the environment. A beautiful and evocative picture book unlike any other, Water Boy will captivate children, adults, and environmentalists alike.

"Water Boy began as a series of little drawings (I try to do at least one every day). Water images kept showing up in my sketches and soon became a theme. After I'd done about eight or ten, I tried to connect them, but nothing worked, so I put the idea aside.

"I continued to draw, and my drawings were still infused with water. Then, without really trying, they began to reveal some continuity. I kept drawing and drawing, and the story continued to take shape. It came together so magically that it informed my new approach: Do the art you want, and the story will follow . . ."

-David McPhail
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In McPhail's (the Big Brown Bear series) resonant allegorical tale, a boy initially finds his teacher's statement, "You are water... mostly," unsettling. He worries he might dissolve in the rain or turn to ice in the winter. In a wry take on a common childhood fear, "Ever since the bathwater wrapped around his big toe and tried to pull him down the drain, the boy had been a reluctant bather." After his mother explains that water is a necessity for life, "water became more and more like a friend to the boy." Magical things start to occur: water from the faucet curls into letters spelling his name, he holds back a waterfall to save a dog that has fallen in and, peering into a drop of water balanced on his fingertip, "he could see everything that lay at the bottom of the ocean." His finest trick underscores the story's environmental core: he pours gallons of rainwater into a baby-food jar and leaves it to "absorb energy from the sun." After hearing a polluted river's plea for help, the lad dumps the jar's contents into the brown river, turning it blue so "the river ran clear all the way to the ocean and beyond." In a satisfying ending, as the boy walks along the shore a bottle washes up at his feet-it contains a note that reads, "Thank you." Luminous, softly focused pictures capture this earnest, cherubic child's sense of awe, purpose and power-readers should readily experience the same emotions. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
David McPhail, the beloved author and illustrator of more than 150 books for children and adults, bring a beautiful water landscape and story to life in Water Boy. One day a boy learns at school that he is composed mostly of water. He finds this information unsettling. Does this mean he'll dissolve in rain, or turn to ice in the winter? Can he still take a bath, and is it possible he will puncture like a balloon? The boy learns that water is a necessary nutrient, and he begins to play with water in magical ways. Seabirds present him with beautiful shells, and waves sing to him. He can even balance water on the tip of his fingers, and create spiral patterns in the sink. One day he is even able to bring a dirty lake to life again, cleaning it and the ocean beyond. Parents and children will enjoy the beautiful illustrations and themes behind this enchanting story, which is destined to be a modern classic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810917842
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,148,838
  • Age range: 1 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.22 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David McPhail has illustrated over 100 books for children and received numerous state awards and other honors. He is also the illustrator of When Sheep Sleep, by Laura Numeroff. He lives in Rye, New Hampshire.

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Customer Reviews

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