Heather is a nice girl who just wants to visit a Japanese tea house, or a farm, or even just take a walk without getting wet. But where ever she goes, Heather always falls in the water! She is getting fed up with it, and her parents are getting worried that someday she will fall in really deep water and be in really deep trouble. Those water wings she wears all the time won’t help her get away from a shark in the ocean, after all. Finally, Heather agrees to spend one day at the pool to see if the water really hates her as much as she thinks it does. To her surprise, when she gets in the water on purpose, she has a really great time! Her newfound knowledge gives her courage and she learns to swim, dive, and race in the water like a champion. And her parents are so proud of her, that in their enthusiasm… they fall in the water.
My mother grew up near the ocean, and I think that is the main reason why she felt so strongly that my 5 sisters and I should learn to swim at a young age. Even when my dad was in medical school and we had no extra money, she dragged us all out to the YMCA and spent endless Saturdays congratulating us on our newly developed talent at blowing bubbles and kicking or stepping tentatively off the diving board. None of us are Olympic champions or anything, but we are all grateful that we can be safe and confident in the water. That is the long story of why I like this book- it doesn’t just encourage kids to stop being afraid of the water, it teaches them that when they learn how to be safe in the water, that’s what takes the fear away and makes it fun.
Also, the illustrations of Heather going everywhere in the water wings are hilarious. There is one picture of Heather sitting up in bed, trying to go to sleep, with those enormous water wings propping her arms straight out to the sides, that just kills me every time. My kids stop me every time we get to the part of the book where Heather realizes that the water wants to be her friend because there is a big smiley face hidden in the water, and they just love the idea of the water smiling at them. The always want to make sure I see it and love it as much as they do. And I always do.
To find out if this book is at your public library, visit World Cat.