Pat Thomson continues her seven-part series
Putting a project together ideally begins with an unhurried survey of all the resources, and then a drawing together of the elements which most suit the age and ability of your particular group of children. If time seems short and information about resources seems less accessible than you would hope, this Books for Keeps Lifeline series may help.
For the 5-12 age range, each section will cover one major topic and suggest non-fiction books, stories and poems related to the one theme. The addresses of organisations which offer help and material to schools will also be included. The result should be a broadly based range of options which remind you of good material, inform you about new books and maybe even suggest new approaches within the chosen theme. If they won’t give you a research assistant, use BfK instead!
Other themes to be covered in the series include Food, and Clothing. Previous themes covered: House and Home (BfK 51, July 88).
PART 2: WATER
The theme of water can be approached from several angles so the books are arranged in related groups. The age range is approximately five to twelve. The final age selection will, however, rest with the teacher as some of the experiments and illustrations will be applicable across the age range.
A simple overview is provided in picture book form by Water in the Where Does It Come From? series, Kathy Henderson, Macdonald 1986, 0 356 11551 8, £2.95, taking us from the spring to the tap.
The brightly illustrated Let’s Imagine: Water, Tom Johnston and Sarah Pooley, Bodley Head, 0 370 30867 0, £4.95, is similarly all encompassing in a lively primary years format.
For junior and lower middle, The Book of Water: a way of seeing, Benn 1980, 0 510 00072 X, o/p, probes into more subtle watery byways. A good resource for teachers `doing water’ yet again, with suggestions for unusual activities, but a good browsing book for children, too.
Water and the sciences
Science from Waterplay, part of the Teaching Primary Science series, Macdonald 1976, 0 356 05071 8, £4.50 non-net, is a useful starting point. Not only what to do, but why. Plenty of simple experiments.
The Magic Fountain, Alison Alexander and Susie Bower, Collins 1986, 0 (X) 184946 8, £4.95, provides science activities for the 4-8s, many related to the properties of water.
Science Scenesetters offers six sets of bright experiment cards, one of which is Water, British Gas Corporation 1986, Catalogue No. 79, £33.00 for all six sets. No SBN but you do get stickers with these, as well as a teachers guide. Enquiries to British Gas Education Service, P 0 Box 46, Hounslow, Middlesex TW4 6NF (Tel: 01-759 4611).
Science Horizons, the West Sussex Science 5-14 scheme, Macmillan Education 1981. See especially From Rain to Tap, 0 333 31299 6 (Level 1), Floating and Sinking, 0 333 28536 0, and Water in the Home, 0 333 32155 3, both from Level 2a, £7.50 each.
The theme of water in the home (see also House and Home, last issue) can be continued with the invaluable Wash and Brush Up, Eleanor Allen, A & C Black 1976, 0 7136 1639 3, £4.95. Water supply and sanitation in all its gory detail is given the historical treatment.
Watery Environments and Man
Exploring Rivers, Derek Cullen and John Murray-Robertson, Macmillan Education 1987, 0 333 43949 X, £6.95, concentrates on early exploration. The text is straightforward for those who can cope with the names, and it shows how the great rivers were roads to the interiors.
In A Journey Up the Nile, Laurie Bolwell, Wayland 1984, 0 85078 403 4, £4.95, the river provides a connecting thread between the nine rivers it flows through. Although there are obvious digressions (the Pyramids for example), the dominance and importance of the river is demonstrated in words, pictures and diagrams.
Lake and River Peoples, Terry Jennings, Macdonald 1987, 0 356 13215 3, £5.95, continues the theme of the importance of water to human life but takes a broader view, looking at both communities and the economic use of waterways.
Living by the Water, Jacqueline Dineen, Macmillan 1987, 0 333 42625 8, £6.95, does the same in more detail, including leisure use and waterborne communities like the crew of an oil rig.
Rivers and People, Tom Browne, Wayland 1982, 1 85340 952 8, o/p, using a more demanding text, is part of a series which relates humans to the landscape, emphasising the geological aspects and our responsibility for our rivers.
Canals, Graham Rickard, Wayland 1987, 1 85210 090 7, £4.50, looks back briefly, then reviews modern canals and their traffic. The glossary is useful for technical terms.
For real photographs, Rivers and Canals, Penny Marshall, Macdonald 1986, 0 356 11394 9, £5.95, shows us mainly barge dwellers and their lives, as part of the Camera as Witness series.
In the History Explorers series, Canals, David Woodlander, A & C Black 1983, 0 7136 2275 X, o/p, is a handy little book, with useful diagrams and pictures, which invites you to go out and look for your own evidence.
Right up to date, Car Ferry, Andrew Langley, Watts 1983, 0 86313 037 2, £4.95, is a tour in large print and photographs of the floating world many children have experienced on holiday.
Building a … Container Ship, Michael Moore, Hamish Hamilton 1985, 0 241 11675 9, £4.95, is more demanding reading and traces a cargo ship’s journey, showing all the processes and personnel involved.
Travel by Water, Michael Pollard, Macmillan 1986, 0 333 40940 X, £6.95, covers these and other areas in less detail, from dugout to hydrofoil.
And if it is not tactless, The Sinking of the Titanic, John Dudman, Wayland 1987, 1 85210 163 6, £5.75, provides a well-illustrated dramatic account.
Watery Environments and the Natural World
The River, Vanessa Luff, A & C Black 1981, 0 7136 2198 2, o/p, is a beautifully illustrated picture book showing all kinds of creatures which live in and by the river. Minimal text but key diagrams of each scene are provided at the back.
Pond Life, Science Horizons again, Level 2b (Macmillan Education 1986), 0 333 34917 2, £7.50, is an all-action guide to get you observing and recording.
In a similar mood but more ‘scenic’, see Pond Life, Terry Jennings, Oxford 1986, 0 19 918210 8, £1.95 non-net or 0 19 9182116, £3.95 net, and for a useful identification guide Pond Animals, Irene Finch, Longman 1969, 0 582 18161 5, R£3.95, deservedly still in print, is a comprehensive list.
Moving to the seaside, The Seashore, also Science Horizons, Level 2b (Macmillan Education 1982), 0 333 32158 8, £7.50, provides more activities demanding close observation.
Coastlines, Sheila Padget, Wayland 1983, 0 85078 296 1, £5.50, takes a grander view, looking at the coast as the battleground between land and sea.
Coasts, Keith Lye, Wayland 1987, 185210 037 0, £6.50, also looks at this aspect but includes plants, animals and man. Fishing, pollution, tourism and the new technology are briefly considered in double spreads.
Further afield, Exploring the Oceans, Derek Cullen and John Murray-Robertson, Macmillan Education 1987, 0 333 43950 3, £6.95, covers early exploration from the Phoenicians to contemporary women sailors. A cheerful quiz is included.
The World of Sharks, Andrew Langley, Wayland 1987, 185210 094 X, £4.50, will cause appropriate sensations with its close-up photographs but it does point out that most sharks are not harmful whereas man is a considerable risk to a shark.
And Thinking of Safety
Safety Near the Water, Dorothy Baldwin and Claire Lister, Wayland 1987, 1 85210 082 6, £4.95, is simply and directly addressed to children with the message ‘don’t fool around near any kind of water’.
FICTION AND POETRY
Splash Harry, John Moore, Hodder & Stoughton, 0 340 32893 2, o/p. Harry enjoys splashing everyone until victims take their revenge.
Mr Gumpy’s Outing, John Burningham, Cape, 0 224 61909 8, £5.50; Picture Puffin, 0 14 050.254 8, £1.95 pbk. A river trip which ends in the water when the unusual boatload won’t sit still. See also this author’s Come Away from the Water, Shirley, Cape, 0 224 01373 4, £4.95; Picture Lions, 0 00 662147 3, £1.95 pbk.
The Pond, Nichola Armstrong, Dent, 0 460 06172 0, £5.50. A cautionary tale about a family of frogs but accurate information in the careful illustrations and identification chart endpapers.
An Evening at Alfie’s, Shirley Hughes, Bodley Head, 0 370 30588 4, £5.25; Picture Lions, 0 00 662484 7, £1.95 pbk. Water in the wrong place is definitely a Bad Thing, as Alfie’s babysitter discovers when the pipes burst.
Mr Archimedes’ Bath, Pamela Allen, Hamish Hamilton, 0 241 11968 5, £5.95. An incredible assortment of animals take a bath, thus demonstrating the Archimedes Principle and a wet floor.
The Sultan’s Bath, Victor Ambrus, Oxford, 0 19 279677 1, o/p. In a country where water is precious, even bathwater can be stolen.
A Mermaid’s Tale, Fiona Moodie, Hutchinson, 0 09 159280 1, o/p. Fisherman Tom bravely rescues his wife from the mermaids’ underwater world. The pictures are especially enjoyed.
Princess Gorilla and a New Kind of Water, Verna Aardema and Victoria Chess, Bodley Head, 0 370 31180 9, £5.50. The gorilla king decrees that whoever can drink the ‘new kind of water’ can marry the princess. Re-telling of an African folktale.
Rain, Peter Spier, Collins, 0 00 195165 3, reprinting 1989. A rainy day – a wordless book full of atmospheric pictures.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Felicity Trotman, Methuen, 0 416 53710 3, £5.50. Goethe’s poem, Dukas’ music, Disney’s film: this is the story behind them all. The Apprentice fills the cauldron by means of magic and then cannot stop the spell.
The Gift, Doreen Roberts, Methuen, 0 416 50340 3, £5.95. A deeply touching story of a boy who shows his great love for his grandmother with a gift from the sea. Effective over a wide age range.
Supermarket Thursday, Jean Chapman, Hodder & Stoughton, 0 340 36637 0, £6.95. Series of short stories about ordinary events for the youngest. In ‘Wet Blanket’, a blanket covered in purple painting water gets the full washing treatment.
I Don’t Want To!, Bel Mooney, Methuen, 0 416 51710 2, £5.95; Magnet, 0 416 03212 5, £1.50 pbk…. but she usually does in the end and ‘I Don’t Want to Wash’ turns out to be quite an interesting experience.
Rain and Shine, Paul Rogers, Orchard, 1 85213 060 1, £6.25. In ‘The Castle’, while trying to build one in the flooded stream, the children dam the flow and cut themselves off. A mini-adventure with Acorn, the dog, as the rescuer.
Winnie the Pooh, A A Milne, Magnet, 0 416 23910 2, £1.95 pbk. Remember Chapter Nine ‘in which Piglet is entirely surrounded by water’? Floating messages and unorthodox sailing vessels play their part while it rains incessantly in an English sort of way.
The Disappearing Cat, Thelma Lambert, Young Puffin, 0 14 03.2027 X, £1.50 pbk. ‘No swimming for Sam’ is the story of trouble-prone Sam, banished to the side of the pool – which is where he sees the toddler heading for the water …
The Kingdom Under the Sea, Puffin, 0 14 03.06412, £2.50 pbk. There is rich imagery in the title story of a fisherman and his visit to the Sea King’s palace.
What the Neighbours Did, Philippa Pearce, Viking Kestrel, 0 7226 5262 3, R£5.95; Puffin, 0 14 03.0710 9, £1.95 pbk. ‘Fresh’ is a perfect short story about the finding of a fresh-water mussel and the feelings which it generates between two boys.
Baxter by the Sea, Anne Forsyth, Hodder & Stoughton, 0 340 38607 X, £4.50. Story of a seaside holiday – but Baxter is a cat. Younger juniors.
The Drowning Valley, Mary Cockett, Hodder & Stoughton, 0 340 22598 X, o/p. The new reservoir means a whole valley must be flooded.
The Revenge of Samuel Stokes, Penelope Lively, Heinemann, 0 434 94889 6, £7.95; Puffin, 0 14 03.1504 7, £1.95 pbk. When the new estate offends the eighteenth-century shade of Samuel Stokes, he causes the old lake to re-find its original bed. Good fun, and a sideways look at landscape archaeology.
The Song Under the Water, Jean Morris, Bodley Head, 0 370 30825 5, £6.95. A fantasy in which water plays a powerful role. The story is full of the sound and feel of it as the adventure unfolds.
The Village by the Sea, Anita Desai, Heinemann, 0 434 93436 4, £6.95; Penguin Plus, 0 14 03.2505 0, £1.95 pbk. Completely convincing story of a family in an Indian coastal village and the community who live there.
and don’t forget –
The Great Flood, Peter Spier, World’s Work, 0 437 76512 1, £6.50. The story of the ark in humorous, cartoon-strip style.
Trouble in the Ark, Gerald Rose, Magnet, 0 416 54330 8, £1.95 pbk. Lots of animal stories, reflecting the chaos below deck.
And in the Revised Standard Version, Noah and the Ark, Methuen, 0 416 02662 1, £5.95, wonderfully illustrated by Pauline Baynes.
Just one location for each poem is given so try your own collections first. The first four poetry books all have substantial sections devoted to water as a theme.
Seeing and Doing: an anthology of songs and poems, edited by Rosalind Farrimond, Thames Magnet, 0 423 00850 1, £3.95 pbk
The Possum Tree, Lesley Pyott, A & C Black, 0 7136 2706 9, £6.95 pbk
You’ll Love This Stuff!, selected by Morag Styles, Cambridge, 0 521 32130 1, R£5.25; 0 52131275 2, £2.95 pbk
Out of the Blue, Fiona Waters, Lions, 0 00 671960 0, £1.95 pbk. Good selection on rain and storms.
‘Fishes Evening Song’ by Dahlov Ipcar in Noisy Poems, Jill Bennett, Oxford, 0 19 276063 7, £4.95
‘Launderama’ by lain Crichton-Smith, ‘Hotwater Bottles’ by Peggy Dunstan and ‘The River’ by Clive Riche, all in A Very First Poetry Book, John Foster, Oxford, 019 916051 1-£4.95
‘Our Pond’ by Daniel Pettiward in Seeing and Doing: a new anthology of songs and poetry, edited by Rosalind Farrimond, Thames Magnet, 0 423 00660 6, £3.95 pbk
‘Moor-hens’ and ‘Willoughby’ in Jack the Treacle Eater, poems by Charles Causley, Macmillan, 0 333 42963 X, £7.95
‘Learning to Swim’, ‘Sea Dream’ and ‘Mary Celeste’ in Midnight Forest, poems by Judith Nicholls, Faber, 0 571 14807 7, £2.95 pbk
See also Poems 1, Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart-Clark, Oxford, 0 19 834266 7, £2.95 pbk non-net, which has a varied selection of poems from ‘Washing-up’ to ‘The Cataract of Lodore’, some of which will be suitable for this age range, and Pictures and Poems: Water, a series of poems printed on separate sheets and each accompanied by an A4 photograph. These are produced by Philip Green, 112a Alcester Road, Studley, Warwickshire, B80 7NR. There are two sets: Water 1 (A25) and Water 2 (A26).
The following organisations offer information or materials to schools. The items mentioned are those which are free or cost a nominal sum but other materials may be available. Enquiries to the following addresses:
Your local Water Authority – look in the local directory.
BP Educational Centre
P 0 Box 5
(Folders, booklets, etc.)
British Waterways Board
Press and Publicity Officer
Council for Environmental Education
School of Education
University of Reading
24 London Road
Inland Waterways Association
114 Regents Park
Ministry of Agriculture
Fisheries & FoodInformation Division
National Maritime Museum
Educational Services Section
Royal Life Saving Society
Shell Educational Service
Trinity House Lighthouse Service
Public Relations Officer
Pat Thomson is Professional Studies Librarian at Nene College of Higher Education, past chair of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, and author of the ‘Share-a-Story’ series from Gollancz.