Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book #113: All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon, Illustrated by Katherine Tillotson

Image from
Today’s book, chosen to celebrate Earth Day, beautifully explains the never-ending water cycle, from the evaporation of water, “thirsty air / licks it from lakes / sips it from ponds / guzzles it from oceans,” to the release of water from clouds in a “tap dance / avalanche / stampede / of drips and drops and drumming.” The importance of water is emphasized and readers are urged to conserve it and keep it clean.

Tillotson’s illustrations are simply gorgeous, not only representational, but evocative and creative. The illustrations were rendered digitally, which allows Tillotson to create collage-like images that feature sharp lines and shapes, as well as transparent elements that overlap and intermingle. Lyon’s text is poetic and rhythmic, yet informative. Like water, the text is presented in different sizes and seems to flow across the page.

This book is a great introduction to the water cycle for young children and just begs to be read aloud. This book clearly isn't meant to be the definitive informational book about water, as many terms, such as “evaporation” and “precipitation,” are not mentioned in the text. However, I suggest using this book to introduce the idea to very young children or with elementary school age children to begin a larger unit on water.

The text and images will inspire kids to learn more about water and how it affects everyone on the earth. Check out the background information and activities for this book and an animated water cycle, both provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For more information on water conservation, check out the City of San Diego’s kid-friendly resources.

Before you read the book, ask the kids to share different ways they use water every day, such as taking a bath, washing their hands, drinking water, etc. All living things depend on water to survive, name some living things around your neighborhood that need water. For more great discussion questions and ideas, check out the teacher’s guide created by Lyon.

If you’re reading this with young kids, follow up with some water themed rhymes, such as Raindrops Falling, Drip Drip Drop Drop, and Ten Little Raindrops.



  1. Sounds like an interesting book, and reminds me of A Drop in the Ocean by Jacqui Bailey, which I can wholeheartedly recommend.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation, it's a new one to me!