cover image My Rainy Day Rocket Ship

My Rainy Day Rocket Ship

Markette Sheppard, illus. by Charly Palmer. S&S/Millner, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5344-6177-2

Bright, full-bleed paintings by Palmer (I Can Write the World) power this tale by Sheppard (What Is Light?) about low-tech play. Bold strokes portray a black child gazing out the window, hand absentmindedly on the head of his comedic sidekick, a small pug. Loosely rhyming verse explains the book’s dilemma: rainy weather, inside play, nothing to do, then a light bulb and growing excitement: “Today I’ll make something/ really tough—// Like a whole new world/ in a different place—/a galaxy off in/ outer space!” A rocking chair and a cardboard box, tools from Dad (who, with his well-equipped workshop, offers thoughtful help), swimming trunks and goggles for a spacesuit, and a dish towel for a flag all make a promising rocket trip: “These will surely/ serve me well./ On this mission,/ I cannot fail.” The child’s parents show up for the big launch. Loose, chiming lines supply the framework for Palmer’s dynamic brushwork, which creates mass and motion while also lingering, on a more contemplative note, on the light that falls over the child’s face. Sheppard’s emphasis is on making—and on making do with what’s at hand—creative play that is nurtured by supportive parents (and one amusing, licking dog). Ages 4–8. [em](May) [/em]