October 2, 2016

THE WATER PRINCESS

The Water Princess, written by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H Reynolds is the story of a young girl who dreams of bringing clean drinking water to her African village. Every day Princess Gie Gie wakes up before the sun rises and walks miles to get fresh water for drinking and cleaning. No matter how hard she tries, Princess Gie Gie cannot make the water come closer or run clearer, and she dreams of a day when her village will have cool, crystal-clear water of its own.


The watercolor, gouache, and digital illustrations are stunning. Reynolds' use of color is spot-on in every image: we can almost feel the arid air and the quench of thirst as we look upon these desert scenes, and yet there's still such a beauty to them. 


Like the water Gie Gie so desperately tries to move toward her, Reynolds' illustrations ebb and flow across the pages​. ​His daytime scenes consist of light blues and varying shades of orange, highlighting the heat coming off of the pages--the sun is always blazing. Reynolds' nighttime scenes are maybe the most ​beautiful, though, because of their contrast to the daytime scenes. We feel a moment of coolness in a place where coolness is hard to come by.


The text is actually inspired by the childhood of Burkina Faso-born model Georgie Badiel. The grander message of the book only enhances the beauty of the story we read--we're keenly aware of the thought that went into making the book and the attitude that Gie Gie has about her situation. Gie Gie is an inspiration and brings to the forefront the issue of access to clean drinking water. The story never feels didactic, and the message and illustrations will keep you coming back for many rereads.