cover image Rain


Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Lisa Congdon. Beach Lane, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4424-6509-1

Via keen observation and soothing repetition, lilting text from Rylant (Life) celebrates rain’s onset, and its regenerative, nourishing power. “There is a softness/ and a quiet/ before the rain comes,” anticipatory lines begin. In patterned digital spreads that make fine use of blues, greens, oranges, pinks, and yellows, Congdon (Round) establishes the poem’s setting—a two-story home with a garden and a greenhouse, and, nearby, a fenced park with a pond. As clouds overtake the golden sun, birds “fly in with weather reports,” and the trees whisper to the squirrels, “Hurry home.” This refrain recurs as children, then animals, seek cover. Only the rain-booted legs of the children, portrayed with brown skin, are seen as they head home, aware of the storm: “Oh, they knew even before the trees knew. They watched as the sky changed.” Everyone retreats but the ducks: “Mama ducks gather up the babies/ and promise them/ a glorious day!” Because rain, “wonderful, free rain,” brings respite and gifts, this book firmly suggests, “every living thing/ will be better.” Ages 3–8. Author’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel, Full Circle. (Apr.)