cover image A Rainy Day

A Rainy Day

Sandra Markle. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05976-0

In this account of earth's water cycle--from cloud formation to rainfall to evaporation back into the atmosphere--unconnected but familiar observations plop down like unexpected drops. Hard rain breaks up the ground and forms delicate rivulets. Rings appear in puddles. One water bead runs into another down the windowpane, melding into a heavier drop. And when the sun shines through, rainbow colors emerge. While the text is accurate and the watercolor illustrations pleasantly evocative, their overall language and tone lack the discovery and awe of rain-watching--``Materials such as plastic and rubber don't absorb water.'' (Also, so much information crowds this picture book that it may ultimately overwhelm younger readers.) Although many little ones might prefer their own rainy-day walk or a private window rain-side, reading this book could re-establish small discoveries and link them to larger scientific patterns. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)