The illustrations in this book are absolutely stunning!
Interest Level: Pre-K-grade 1; Reading Level: 1.6
4 out of 5 stars
This story features a young child who yearns to go outside and play in the rain. Unfortunately, like many adults, his grandfather doesn’t see rain in the same magical way as the child, and he is told he must wait until it stops. While the child waits, the reader gets glimpses of the boy’s vivid imagination. Finally, the rain stops and the boy and grandfather go to mail a letter. Being outside unleashes the boy’s full imagination, delighting readers with a trip on a floating city complete with “acrobats and carnivals and musical boatmen.”
I really loved that the main characters of the story were a child and a grandparent. I think the relationship between older and younger generations is an important one that should be nurtured. While the grandfather did not immediately play with his grandchild in the rain, once there, they seem to embark on a wonderfully fun experience together. The two characters reflect at the end that “the very best things are always worth waiting for.” This is a very good lesson for young children to reflect upon. If a teacher was using Notice & Note with young readers, this could be pointed out as a Word of the Wiser.
This book also celebrates children’s imaginations and the joy they find in life. The boy likes going out in the rain because, “You can catch raindrops, splash in puddles, and look at everything upside down.” When the boy is stuck inside the house, we see him gazing out the window where he is imagining things from his room coming to life in the rain. The culmination of his fantastical imagination comes to life when he is allowed to venture outside into the watery world.
The greatest strength of Rain lies in the pictures created by Sam Usher. Starting with one of the most incredible covers I have ever seen, Usher skillfully depicts rain drops and the watery world they create in a way that truly brings the scenes to life. Raindrops on a window look so real you almost want to wipe them off. The wavy reflections in the water are so well done that they evoke memories of times the reader has experienced these watery, upside down worlds.
The cover of Rain is a 3D masterpiece that sets the tone for the story. Readers cannot help but run their hands over the raised raindrops and smile at the hazy, watery reflect of a young child enjoying the world.
The sense of wonder at the story’s ending would be a fun one to share with young children. Children and adults might come away from this story with a renewed sense of how magical rain can be.
by Sam Usher
Templar Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press, 2016