Adults who feel in a sour mood when rainfall makes driving difficult or spoils outdoor plans should take a lesson from the young protagonist of Hello, Rain!. Rain can be a wonderful thing!
Here, a slicker-clad and pig-tailed little girl and her dog revel in the sights and sound of a wet day.
on the rooftop.
metal mailbox ping.
Every rainfall plays
a different tune.
Onomatopoeic text evokes the sound of rain as it hits all kinds of surfaces. Much of the layout of the text is executed in the form of concrete poetry.
Drops, sprays and rivulets of water are described as the rainy-day adventure unfolds. And who can pass up the chance to jump into a big puddle? All kinds of animals and plants are enjoying the wet too.
Here is an earthworm,
a sticky snail.
Here is a seedling.
Even when it pours
the frogs don’t hurry
Thunder and lightning drive the explorer and her companion indoors, to read a book and play a board game. A blanket fort is the perfect spot from which to appreciate a view of raindrops running down the outside of the window and the cozy sense of being safe and warm.
After all this, readers are encouraged to look at the world around in the aftermath of the shower.
The ground is glistening green.
Can you smell the grassy sweetness?
Butterflies and bugs
sip, sip, sip
from muddy puddles.
Can you hear the chirping birds?
Author Maclear has collaborated with a variety of illustrators with works such as Julia, Child (with Julie Newman, 2013) and more recently, the picture book biography of Gyo Fujikawa, It Began With a Page. With this book, Maclear’s simple, joyous language guides readers through the rich experience of a rainy day.
California artist Chris Turnham has filled the pages and uses his whole palette to describe many moods, from the beginning where clouds are gathering and it is plain that a wind is rising, to the sunny stretch of grass filled with flowers and toadstools at the end. Shiny rain droplets on the jacket entice readers to open the book. Inside, slightly softened tones hark back to the muted colour reproduction of an earlier era (although the images, themselves, have been created digitally), lending an endearingly old-fashioned note.
On a pedagogical plane, the book would be a good introduction to the “sound” of words and use of descriptive language for kindergartners and primary students. In a slightly less serious vein, Hello, Rain! would be a perfect choice for a spring story time programme.
Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, British Columbia.