Kid's Stuff -- Books About Rain & Rainy Days
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"Rabbits And Raindrops"
Written by Jim Arnosky
Illustrated by Jim Arnosky
(Putnam, 1997)

Author/artist Jim Arnosky is a prolific writer of nature-oriented children's book -- he's written nearly a hundred so far. I haven't had much success with his material, despite some promising titles. The realistic, didactic tone of his Crinkleroot series and other "All About" books doesn't seem very engaging, at least to the littlest readers. This book is the big exception so far... It's a standard cutesy animal story, with a more conventional narrative that may appeal to smaller children... A rabbit family huddles under some foliage during a downpour, and comes back out when the sun breaks through, then they marvel at the damp, sparkling world around them. A very nice, simple story... also some of Arnosky's most accomplished artwork. We discovered this one at a library-sponsored storytime, and all the little kids liked it. (B+)

"Splash, Joshua, Splash!"
Written by Malachy Doyle
Illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max
(Bloomsbury, 2004)

Absolutely wonderful. Bursting with energy and joyfulness, this book tells the story of a little boy (perhaps three or four years old?) named Joshua, who loves to play in water. Lively, strongly rhythmic writing propels readers into the whirlwind of Joshua's activities, especially a rambunctious trip to a public pool, where Joshua takes his grandmother down the "gigantic slide" time and time again. This is a fun book, and fun to read because of the strong, fluid writing style, which is perfectly complimented by the bold, dynamic, colorful artwork. An instant hit, the kind of book that prompts little ones to say "again!" again and again. Yay. Recommended! (A+)

"The Puddle"
Written by David McPhail
Drawn by David McPhail
(Farrar Straus Giroux, 1998)

A simple, delightful fantasy tale about a small child who asks to go out and play in the rain and has a series of adventures with talking animals -- a turtle, an alligator, etc., -- while sailing a toy boat in a puddle. Not all the animals are nice -- a frog who steals the boat can be seen as a playground bully -- but the tone of the book is light and fanciful, and the story ends well. The text flows beautifully and the story is charming. The real highlight, though, is McPhail's artwork, gentle, elegant watercolors that are reminiscent of Ernest H. Shepard's classic illustrations for A.A. Milne's Winnie The Pooh books. This one's a winner -- probably one of our permanent Top Ten! (A++)

Written by Peter Spier
Illustrated by Peter Spier
(Doubleday, 1982)

A wordless book that shows two kids -- a brother and a sister -- whose backyard play is interrupted by a sudden downpour. They run inside, get dressed for wet weather and then back go out to play all day in the rain. Then they come back in when the sun goes down and snuggle up all dry and warm... and when they come out the next morning, the world is sparkly and filled with dew. Spier's artwork became much more sophisticated in later books, but this is still pretty nice, particularly if you are a rain-lover (or want to raise one!) (B)

"Rainy Rainy Saturday"
Written by Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by Marylin Hafner
(Greenwillow, 1980)

One of my favorite books books by children's poet Jack Prelutsky. One reason I like it is because there are few poems with "bad" subjects (gross stuff, violence, misbehavior) and the poems are all pretty funny. I also enjoy that there is a loose connecting theme to the book (what to do on a rainy day). A winner! (B)

Written by Mary Lyn Ray
Illustrated by Lauren Stringer
(Harcourt, 1996)

"Red Rubber Boot Day"
Written by Mary Lyn Ray
Illustrated by Lauren Stringer
(Harcourt, 2000)

Hey, I'm all in favor of puddle-stomping... and any other celebration of rainy weather you can think of! Here, a little kid thinks of all the things he could do on a rainy day -- read, draw, play with blocks -- or he could go out and stomp around! Very little text, with color-drenched, slightly busy artwork, but a simple message and a nice, light tone. (I especially like the adult neighbor who chooses to go out in the rain barefoot...) This would make a fine companion to Malachy Doyle's Splash, Joshua, Splash! (B-)

"Rain Talk"
Written by Mary Serfozo
Illustrated by Keiko Narahashi
(Margaret K. McElderry, 1990)

Written by Manya Stojic
Illustrated by Manya Stojic
(Crown Books, 2000)

"Who Likes Rain?"
Written by Wong Herbert Yee
Illustrated by Wong Herbert Yee
(Henry Holt, 2007)

All the elements click together in this sweet, simple celebration of rainy weather. Charming artwork, with a little girl putting on her raincoat and boots, exploring the drizzly day and describing all she sees. The rhyming text scans well, and many pages build on the "who likes rain" theme, by leaving the final rhyme until the following page, so we discover that it is frogs, fish and worms that like a little shower... So does the girl, as we see when she goes puddle-stomping at the very end. A delightful, classy little book, with a classic feel... Recommended! (B+)

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