"Oh, the water"
-- Van Morrison, "And It Stoned Me"
"The chickens flapped
The sheep bleated
The pig mucked about
The dog teased the cat
The cat chased the rabbit
The rabbit hopped
The children squabbled
The boat tipped..."
-- from MR. GUMPY'S OUTING by John Burningham (1970), one of my favorite water-play stories
When it comes down to it, all that I learned over the course of a couple of years, decades ago, in the child development program at Santa Rosa Junior
College, can be distilled down to that list of ten.
Water is an unstructured manipulative and free access to it is so essential to the development of very young children. Children splash in it, pour
and measure it, scoop it, mix it into sand and into dirt, create ripples in it, dance in it, wash in it and, eventually, learn to swim in it.
Here, in the park setting of WATER IN THE PARK (inspired by the author's sweet memories of Prospect Park in Brooklyn), we see young children engaged
in water play and sand play -- sometimes in parallel play and sometimes in cooperative play -- amidst all of the other goings-on in the story's
well-used, well-loved urban park. We experience hot slides that have buckets of water poured down them to cool them off, and an evening shower that cools everyone off and sends them running. We see birds and cats and dogs and turtles all interacting with water. We also see swings and jump ropes and climbing structures, trees and rocks and benches, and the "real" world out beyond the borders. (Or is this park really the real world, the place where
young children learn how to keep sane amidst the insanity beyond the park's borders?)
I see several people -- young and old -- reading. I see biking and scootering. But I don't see any iPhones or iPads or iPods or iMacs. And this
makes me happy. Makes me want to clap my hands and sing Fiddle-I-Fee. Because there is plenty of time for that later.
We are taught in child development classes that play is the work of young children. This is a great picture book in support of that essential
40p., ISBN: 978-0-375-87002-6
Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com