cover image Rain Feet

Rain Feet

Angela Johnson. Scholastic, $5.99 (12pp) ISBN 978-0-531-06849-6

More evocative in their use of language than many other board books, this quartet traces small moments in the life of Joshua, an African American boy. He dons slicker and galoshes in the first book to parade joyfully ``jumping, hopping,/ all in yellow/ through puddles with rain feet.'' Even here-the first book is the simplest of the four-Johnson's imagery stands out, as the raindrops ``Plop! On the steps'' and ``Splash! On the street.'' In subsequent titles, Joshua and his sister observe nesting birds; a familial seaside idyll finds the lad ``running free''; and nocturnal sounds trouble his sleep, but all becomes right once ``Daddy's holding me warm and safe.'' Mitchell's softly rendered watercolors, too, often transcend the genre's typically straightforward illustrative style. Her occasional close-ups of faces bring a loving family into clear focus (Joshua's smiling, upturned countenance in Rain is especially endearing), while portrayals of rain-slicked streets, expansive beaches and a trio of hungry birds subtly impart an appreciation of nature. Ages 1-3. (Sept.)