LET'S COUNT THE RAINDROPS

Fumi Kosaka, Illustrator . Viking $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-89689-9

Newcomer Kosaka's illustrations of 10 poems about the weather seem, like the poems, as fresh as spring. Including works by John Ciardi, Margaret Wise Brown and Karla Kuskin, the entries are uncomplicated in both language and sentiment, ideally suited for preschoolers. Kosaka unifies the book by picturing a girl in red and her enthusiastic dog as the subjects or speakers of each poem. They revel in the "green and growing" (Aileen Fisher) June grass that is perfect for going barefoot, and they stare in wonder at the "white sheep, white sheep,/ on a blue hill" (Christina Rossetti), or drifting clouds. As the girl struggles to pull on her winter clothes, the dog brings her mittens; as she stands ankle-deep in a puddle of rain, he hides behind her, frightened of the jumping frogs. Kosaka's compositions are appealingly simple. Elements that might be cloying—the red triangle that serves as the girl's nose, the mostly-black-and-white dog's rosy cheeks—are subdued by the glowing colors and complex textures, rich like the surfaces of a basketball or a piece of vintage leather. Thoughtfully executed, the art delivers just the right amount of stimulation for an appreciation of the poetry. Ages 3-7. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
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