The Water Princess by Susan Verde Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Water Princess by Susan Verde; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016.  42 pages; $17.99 (hardcover); reading level:  ages 4-8.

Gie Gie, a princess in her parents’ eyes, surveys her kingdom: the African sky, the wild dogs, the tall grass, and the dusty earth. Not part of her kingdom is water, which she and her mother walk miles to fetch. The story of one of their daily journeys to the well – with light dancing steps on the way out, aching muscles on the return – captures Gie Gie’s childish aversion to chores and her ability to imagine and play in the middle of a difficult life in which water doesn’t flow from a tap. Gie Gie’s final question, “Why is the water so far?  Why is the water not clear?  Where is our water?” is a not-so subtle pitch for the non-profit, Ryan’s Well, described in the backmatter. The story (in hand lettered text) is lively enough to make it well worth the read without the backstory, however, and the water-color and gouache illustrations capture the African landscape and the spunky, angular Gie Gie perfectly.

Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author

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