Every Color of Light
In a strong translation by Boyd, a Japanese team captures the magic of a summer rainstorm. Working in thick, dense strokes, Arai (What What What?
) creates a lake surrounded by foliage whose colors range from spring green to spruce blue. Silver streaks show the first drops: “Look, it’s raining.” The rain falls harder (“Wetter/ And wetter”), and the greenery, the late poet Osada observes, changes: “The blues darken/ And so do the greens.” Wind whips, leaves fly, rain slashes sideways; bolts of lightning flash across the spreads amid sodden blossoms; and thunder follows, “Cracking/ Crashing.” After a few final flashes in the distance, the sky clears, and the storm is shown to have been ephemeral: “Look, no more rain.” The sun sets, dusk falls, the stars emerge (“Shining,/ They share their stories”). By employing landscapes in lieu of human or animal characters, Osada and Arai ask readers to look—really look—at the rain, the way the changing weather transforms the visible spectrum, and the magnificence of the night sky, phenomena all too often unseen in a hurry-up world. The result is a story that sharpens the senses and quiets the soul. Ages 4–up. (June)