“Oh no, he’s getting everything wet!” cried Olive.
“The cake is melting” shouted Star.
“The presents are ruined!”
Rain Boy is not very well liked – in the sandbox, soccer field, monkey bars - because, wherever Rain Boy is, there is rain. Conversely, Sun Kidd is very poplar – at barbeques, tea parties, and at the beach – because the sun is always shining.
Sun Kidd had a surprise sleepover birthday party, and the whole class was invited. When Rain Boy showed up, everything became wet and the children began chanting, “Rain, Rain, go away”. When Sun heard the yelling, she told everyone to stop, but Rain Boy left and a storm followed.
Both Rain Boy and Sun Kidd didn’t return to school, and it rained for months. Remaining inside, people began conversing with one another, the flowers bloomed, and the grass was greener. Eventually, children came out to play in the rain, jumping through puddles, and once Rain Boy came out, the storm subsided and the rain stopped.
Sun Kidd encouraged Rain Boy to take a look around at the children playing, which made Rain Boy feel proud and appreciated.
The illustrations in Rain Boy are extremely intricate with a lot to take in on every page. They are often dramatic - the reader can almost feel a storm brewing, the darkness on the page, mixtures nof black and gray brush strokes. Sparse text on the pages, such as “a storm began to brew”, “look” and “play was better together”, simply supplement what is occurring - the illustrations do the talking to great effect!
The use of a broad range of bright colours within fine-tuned design is evident throughout: one notes patterns in clothing and furniture, and the use of light, shading, and mixtures of colours in abstract backgrounds and within images. The artistic elements are mesmerizing and, taken as a whole, enhance the story effortlessly.
Importantly, Rain Boy touches on a host of different issues, including bullying, friendship, respect, isolation, and self-esteem. In the end, Glynn sends the message that playing in the rain isn’t so bad after all and “the brightest colors shine from within”.
Harriet Minuk is a librarian at Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, Manitoba.