Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Make a Splash!: A Kid's Guide to Protecting Our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, and Wetla

Make a Splash!: A Kid's Guide to Protecting Our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, and Wetla

Cathryn Berger Kaye, Philippe Cousteau
For ages 9 to 12
Free Spirit Publishing, 2012   ISBN: 978-1575424170

When Philippe Cousteau was a little boy his grandfather, Captain Jacques Cousteau, showed Philippe that the ocean is beautiful place. Philippe learned to appreciate that water is important for all forms of life and that we all need to do our part to care for the Earth’s oceans, seas, rivers and other bodies of water. As he travels around the world Philippe meets children who are eager to do their part to take care of the world’s watery places. This book was written to help children understand the role of water on our planet, and to also help them find ways to protect the Earth’s water.

   The book begins with information about how to use it and to explain how it is organized. We find out that the book is peppered with word definitions, questions to answer, facts, tips from EarthEcho International (an organization founded by Philippe Cousteau and his sister Alexandra), stories about kids who have taken “action to protect water,” and more.

   Next, the author introduces the idea of Service Learning. Service “means doing something to help other people, animals, or the Earth.” Learning is learning about something or “developing a skill by practicing.” When you put these two elements together you combine learning about something with doing something meaningful that helps others. All over the world children are taking what they learn about water and water conservation and they are using that knowledge to find ways to put their conservation ideas “into action.”

   In the book the author divides Service Learning into five chapters. In the first chapter children “Find Out” why water matters. In the second chapter they “Dive In” to learn more about water and they are prepared for the next chapter, which explores how to “Get Going!” This chapter shows children how to “Take Action for Water.” Next there is the “Think Back” chapter, which is the section that encourages children to consider the actions that they have made and to reflect on what those actions mean. Finally, in the fifth chapter, young readers are encouraged to “Show it,” to share their stories with others and to help other children see that young people can really make a difference.

   This excellent book not only gives readers interesting information that is presented in a clever and engaging way, but it also empowers children by showing them that there are lots of things that they can do to save the world’s water and its watery environments. Young readers will appreciate that the author does not talk down to them. Instead, she shows them that she believes that they are part of the solution, that they can do something meaningful to make our planet healthier.