cover image Ella’s Umbrella

Ella’s Umbrella

Courtney Shannon Strand, illus. by Jennica Lounsbury. Kicky Cane, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-73427-890-3

Employing the refrain “as the rain drops a capella,” Strand’s debut relays the puddle-dotted adventure of Ella, a girl with long dark hair and pale skin, as she skips through the rain with a new red umbrella in hand. Rhythmic, repetitive onomatopoeic prose details every step of Ella’s solo journey (“Splash!/ She squishes her rain boots/ slosh slurry slop./ As the mud tries to shake loose/ slop slurry whop”) as she twirls through the rain in a light blue raincoat and yellow rain boots. When the storm picks up, however, Ella races home to hide from lightning and thunder. Lounsbury’s thinly outlined digital art emphasizes broken lines of unrelenting rain, while strokes of colored pencil and crayon-esque textures enliven the neighborhood. Though the ending is a bit abrupt, this gentle tale is overall a sunny pick for young readers. Ages 3–5. Self-published)