Tag Archives: rain

Day 153 – Down Comes the Rain

For June, we chose a theme of sea creatures and beaches – but to start the month off, we thought we’d try another book on rain and the water cycle. Hey – the sea is a pretty big part of the water cycle, to say the least, so I think it works. Plus it’s been monsoon season around here for what seems like months.down comes the rain

So, where was I? Ah, yes: we are starting June and for our first book of the month, we picked an entertaining and informative volume from the “Read-and-Find-Out-Science” collection: “Down Comes the Rain” by Franklyn Branley. As with several of our other water-cycle books so far this year, “Down Comes the Rain” manages to address the subject in a concise, engaging and accessible way.

The book follows four children who alternately narrate (through speech bubbles) and appear in various stages of the water cycle – including, strangely, talking about hail. I say “strangely” because with all the books we have read on the water cycle, I think this is the first time that we have read about hail…in a book that did not talk about snow. Interesting – and a reminder that each book in a particular theme may be similar to others we have read, but each has something unique to offer.

Day 136 – What Makes it Rain? The Story of a Raindrop

It’s raining, it’s pouring, being stuck inside is boring…unless…you have a good book to read…and we have plenty to suggest! Today, if you haven’t been keeping up with your water cycle studies (or even if you have), we are happy to propose another wonderful learning opportunity: “What Makes it Rain? The Story of a Raindrop” by Keith Brandt, and illustrated by Yoshi Miyake. Part of the “Learn About Nature”, series “What Makes it Rain?” is a remarkably comprehensive and engaging overview of the water cycle complete with gentle watercolor illustrations apropos of the subject matter.

what makes itMr. Brandt manages to cover a lot of ground in this book. He introduces the reader not only the stages of the water cycle, but to the journey that water takes from mountain to sea (and even into your own home!), and the importance of water in sustaining plant and animal life. While there is a lot of text it is not at all cumbersome; the language is accessible for younger listeners, and (for those to whom this matters) there is no heavy-handed lesson on environmentalism. “What Makes it Rain” is straight-up edu-tainment! We found it to be quite an enjoyable read-aloud…and it is a book we are happy to have available in our own collection.


Day 134 – Umbrella

After waiting (not so) patiently for the rain to stop in last night’s book, tonight we read a story about waiting (not so) patiently for the rain to START. “Umbrella” by Taro Yashima is a delightful take on the idea that a watched pot never boils…but give it some time and when opportunity meets preparation, the payoff can be sweet!umbrella

On her third birthday, little Momo (whose name means “peach” in Japanese) is given an umbrella and a pair of red rain boots as a gift. She is so pleased, she wakes up at midnight just to take another look at her new rain gear. Unfortunately for Momo, the weather is not feeling very cooperative. Every morning she asks her mother “Why the rain doesn’t fall?” and her mother replies “Wait, wait; it will come.”

Momo, however, is not content with waiting. One bright morning she suggests that she might need her umbrella to shield her eyes from the harsh sunlight. “You know you can enjoy the sunlight better without your umbrella,” her mother says, “Let’s keep it for a rainy day.” The very next morning, she suggests that she might need the umbrella to shield her eyes from the wind. “The wind might blow your umbrella away,” her mother replies,” Let’s keep it for a rainy day.”

It is not until many, many days later that Momo’s mother wakes her to say “Get up. Get up. What a surprise for you!”…it is raining at last! Terribly excited, Momo dons her rain gear and heads out for her nursery school with her mother. Along the way she reminds herself to walk straight like a “grown-up lady”, and she listens to the wonderful music of the raindrops falling on her umbrella…”pon pollo, pon pollo…” The rain continues to fall all day, and Momo hears the music again on her way home, when her father comes to pick her up. The book ends by telling the reader that Momo is grown now…and the narrator wonders aloud whether Momo remembers that this was the first time that she used her umbrella, and that this was the first time that she walked alone without holding her mother or her father’s hand.

This is a sweet story, and I really enjoyed the vintage feel of the illustrations in this Caldecott Honor book which was first published in 1958. In “Umbrella” Mr. Yashima succeeds at describing how I think a three year old child would react to receiving his or her first umbrella…from the increasingly restless anticipation of that first raindrop to the feeling that using your umbrella for the first time suddenly requires you to behave like a grown-up. I know our youngest continues to be fascinated with umbrellas (and splashing in puddles), and it made me smile imagining her in Momo’s shoes.


Day 133 – Rain

Around these parts it feels as though April showers have carried on…and on…and on. Frankly, I’m surprised our May flowers haven’t floated away by now. How appropriate, then, that today we should be reading “Rain” by Sam Usher – a colorful and wonderfully imaginative storybook that seeks to remind us that the very best things are always worth waiting for!

rainMr Usher’s protagonist is a precocious little red-headed boy, who wakes up one morning to a rainy day. He can’t wait to get outside, but his Grandad says they should stay indoors until the rain ends. “But I LIKE going out in the rain,” our hero pleads. In the rain you can look at things (reflected) upside down, catch raindrops, and splash in puddles. But Grandad is not persuaded, and so they wait.

The little boy reads sea stories, and the rain does not stop. What about a sea voyage with monsters, he suggests. No, better to wait. Sooooo, the little boy reads a book about Venice, and the rain does not stop. How about going out to see the floating city, with acrobats, carnivals, and musical boatmen, he proposes. And granddad, who has finally finished writing a letter, jumps up and says, “Quick…we have to catch the post!”

Time for a voyage at last (and what a voyage it is)! There are upside-down reflections, and chances to catch raindrops in your mouth, and musical boatmen, and sea monsters, and acrobats, and a general riot of activity. Upon returning home from the mailbox and after changing into some dry clothes, the boy and his Grandad sip hot chocolate, and agree: “The very best things are always worth waiting for.”

The message imparted in this book is a classic; so very true, but so very hard to remember in the moment (waiting: a potentially rewarding but infinitely challenging predicament…see here, here, and here for other books we love that have captured this theme). I particularly liked how the author foreshadowed the adventure to come with the little boy’s reading materials, and I loved the scribbly, playful watercolor illustrations, a style that I think adds to the helter-skelter carnival feel of the eventual voyage.

And, the very moment we closed the book, it started raining (again!) at our house…I guess I’ll sit here and wait for MY ship to come in.


Day 118 – Who Likes Rain?

Who likes rain? With April showers in full swing, we found ourselves asking – and answering – that question while reading “Who Likes Rain” by Wong Hebert Yee. Mr. Lee’s book is a rhyming and rollicking good time that makes entertaining use of onomatopoeia, keeps readers engaged with the repeated question “Who Likes Rain?” and provides a very satisfying ending…at least from the perspective of some younger listeners.who likes rain

Filled with Mr. Yee’s colorful soft-focus illustrations, the book follows a little girl who, rather than despondently sitting at home and asking “Who Likes Rain?”, decides to don her raincoat and, boots and head out into the downpour to find out first-hand. The rain pit-pit-pits on windowpanes, ping-ping-pings on awnings, and tum-tum-tums on umbrellas as the little girl watches cats scat, frogs hop, and worms squirm. She decides that the neighbor’s dog doesn’t like rain, nor does papa’s truck, but ducks clearly do. Eventually, as the rain clears, it occurs to the little girl that there is one more creature who may like rain most of all…as she – KER-SPLAT – jumps right into one of the puddles left behind.

We had a lot of fun reading this relatively simple picture book. There’s some information here about how the real world works – but the best part was the way in which the rhymes hinted at who, on the very next page, was going to like rain. It was infectious enough that mommy couldn’t help but call out the answer before I could turn some of the pages. Big smiles all around!


Day 111 – Raindrops Roll

April showers may eventually bring May flowers, but around here over the past several days it seems like the showers just bring more showers. How appropriate, then, that today’s book was “Raindrops Roll” by April Pulley Sayre. The book is an extended poem about rain set against the lush, beautiful backdrop of Ms. Sayre’s photo illustrations. After your eyes have feasted on the colorful close-up pictures of water droplets on leaves, spider webs and flowers, you can also get a little science lesson about the water cycle (“a splash of science”) on the end pages.raindrops

This is the first photo-illustrated book we have read for many weeks – and the pictures are stunning. It’s a kind of book which we particularly love: entertainment and information about the real world! There are close-up pictures of bugs and slugs which add to the attraction of the book. Ahhhh, poetry and rain – what a great combination for April and National Poetry Month!


Day 94 – Where Do They Go When It Rains?

Inspired by April showers, one of the themes we are exploring in our reading list this month is the water cycle. We’ve gathered several books that touch on this theme, including our Sunday evening read aloud picture book “Where Do They Go When It Rains?” by Gerda Muller. It is a lovely story about children exploring outside and reveling in the beauty and wonder of nature, complete with Ms. Muller’s characteristically delightful illustrations.

WhereMarion and Luke are twins who live in an apartment building in the big city. On this warm, sunny morning they head out to visit their cousin Stef at the country house where he lives with their grandmother. The twins spend their day with Stef, wandering the countryside: chasing grasshoppers, laughing at sparrows taking dust baths, visiting with the animals on a nearby farm, and wading in a shallow pond to find a snail for Stef’s fish tank. Before making it back to the house they are caught in what I assume is a spring shower, which leads Marion to ask the question in the book’s title: “Where do (the animals) go when it rains?”

As they walk back to the house Stef and the twins find the answer to their question by observing how each animal they pass reacts to the rain. Some hide under leaves, some huddle against a fence as a shield from the wind, and some seem not only unperturbed but rather invigorated by the wet weather. Perhaps inspired by the ducks playing in the pond, and already too wet to care about staying dry anyway, the three explorers begin an impromptu dance in the rain, splashing and playing in a big puddle…and that is where grandma finds them. After donning some dry clothes, and downing some hot chocolate, the twins see a beautiful rainbow from Grandma’s porch, complete with a little science lesson from Stef; he tells them how rainbows are formed, and how they can find one in the sky.

“Where Do They Go When It Rains” is vintage Gerda Muller: the illustrations are detailed, colorful, and charming and they convey a childlike wonder that I can imagine the twins must feel as they marvel at the natural beauty that surrounds grandma’s country house. I particularly enjoyed the comforting idea of just enjoying a carefree day in the country, and the joyful abandon on display as the twins and Stef splash around in the rain. We also appreciated the lesson on rainbows toward the end of the book – right on time for “National Find a Rainbow Day!” It’s always gratifying to find a book that combines a great story with attractive illustrations and bit of information about how the world works. Gerda Muller books are wonderful for that, and it’s one of the reasons why we have so many.