Great Illustrated Books

A Drop Of Water

By Walter Wick

Scholastic Press, 1997
Pages : 40
Suggested Ages: 8-11
ISBN: 0590221973

One day, when I was in third grade, I started to wonder about chalk. I wanted to know if a stick of chalk would melt in a sinkful of water. Unfortunately, I was in school at the time, and though I began my experiment in the bathroom adjacent to the classroom, I never got to complete it. My teacher sent someone to find out why I was taking so darn long in there. While I didn't consider myself a big fan of science back then, I always loved doing experiments. Which is why I get so inordinately happy every time I open Walter Wick's elegant and experiment-filledA Drop of Water.

Winner of the 1997 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for best nonfiction book, Wick's crystal clear color close-up photos and equally compelling text lead us to discover the many interesting and unusual properties of water. Each splashy photograph of such subjects as surface tension, soap bubbles, water molecules, ice, water vapor, and condensation is accompanied by a thoughtful description that children can use as the basis for an easy-to-perform experiment. In the page titled "FLOATING STEEL AND WILD WAVES," a steel pin appears to be floating on the surface of a glass of water. The text explains that it is being held there by the surface tension of the water. On the facing page, an egg is being dropped into the same glass of water, breaking the surface tension with a splash of a wave. Another experiment shows how cloud droplets form. (The pages on snowflakes will put you in mind of the Caldecott winner, Snowflake Bentley, a memorable nonfiction picture book by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, which you can read aloud in tandem.) At the back of the book are further ideas on each concept to try with your kids.

Parents, you can try all of these mini-projects at home. The worst that can happen is everyone will get a little wet.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Cole, Joanna. The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks. Scholastic, 1988.

Cowan, Catherine. My Life with the Wave. Lothrop, 1997.

Frasier, Debra. The Incredible Water Show. Harcourt, 2004.

Graham, Joan Bransfield. Splish Splash. Ticknor & Fields, 1994.

Locker, Thomas. Water Dance. Harcourt, 1997.

Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. Snowflake Bentley. Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Marzollo, Jean. I Spy Extreme Challenger! A Book of Picture Riddles. Illus. by Walter Wick. Scholastic/Cartwheel, 2000. (And others in the I Spy series.)

Ross, Michael Elsohn. What's the Matter in Mr. Whisker's Room? Candlewick, 2004.

Wick, Walter. Can You See What I See? Scholastic/Cartwheel, 2002. (And others in the Can You See What I See? series.)

Wick, Walter. Walter Wick's Optical Tricks. Scholastic, 1998.

Critics have said

"A fine, eye-catching introduction to a well-focused topic."
School Library Journal