I picked up this book randomly at the library because that has been my modus operandi since the girls and I have been attending story time at the public library for the past year or so–we participate in story time (which is a very relative term depending on the moods of the girls) and then I randomly pick out books while trying to keep the girls from causing any of the little-old-geneaology-obsessed men in the upstairs genealogy room from calling down to the children’s department complaining about the noise level. Despite the fact that I came home with not one, not two, but THREE Dora the Explorer books, I would call last Thursday’s library scavenging the best I’ve done so far. We’ll just call it a serendipitous find.
Water Voices by Toby Speed is a lovely little book full of all kinds of examples of literary devices your eighth grade English teacher tried to convince you that you needed to know: personification, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and just beautiful imagery in general. Although the beautiful language in the book is alone enough to make it a mesmerizing read, it is also written in the form of a series of riddles. The theme of the book, as indicated by the title, is water. Readers are given a series of hints in lyrical language and then are asked the question, “Who am I?” The facing page has a lovely illustration by Julie Downing, and then the answer is given on the following page. This book would be a winner even without the riddle format, though. One cannot help but be entranced when reading about places and times “when carrots nap in the garden”, “when you wear barefoot shoes with seaweed laces”, and “when. . .your eyelids [are] buttered with sleep.” Although my three-and-a-half year old Lulu doesn’t always get the riddles, she does appreciate the language, as evidenced by the fact that she will listen to this book over and over without much of a second glance toward the Doras that are piled up by the rocking chair. Even Louise, at a very busy two years old, will sit still long enough to get through this two dozen pages of soothing sounds and pictures. This book is great for so many ages for so many different reasons. I just love it for its beautiful language and how it makes me feel. I wouldn’t mind it if Santa left this one under our Christmas tree.