In this quietly affecting story, award-winning author Karen Hesse and artist Jon J. Muth deftly capture the magnificence of a sudden rainstorm on a swelteringly hot day. Much more than a simple tale of weather, Come On, Rain!
also portrays the tenderness of mother-daughter relations, the rhythms of urban society, and the power of nature to transform and reinvigorate all forms of life.
The book's collaborators, more like alchemists, work wonders. Muth's sunbaked watercolors perfectly convey the washed-out, drought-stricken world, while Hesse's gripping narrative--a detailed prose poem written in the voice of the watchful, pigtailed Tessie--conveys undaunted hope and anticipation. Like a long-limbed little bird--all twiggy arms and legs--Tessie moves through the neighborhood, observing her Mamma, her friends, the skies, even the streets:
Up and down the block,
heat wavers off tar patches in the broiling alleyway....
I stare out over rooftops,
past chimneys, into the way off distance.
And that's when I see it coming,
clouds rolling in,
gray clouds, bunched and bulging under a purple sky.
A creeper of hope circles round my bones.
"Come on, rain!" I whisper.
As the downpour approaches, Tessie gathers her neighborhood friends for a romp in the raindrops. Their eager anticipation is matched by a rain shower so gigantic, it even makes their mothers run into the street. It's literally the stuff that dreams are made of--my own daughter dreamed of the delicious downpour the night we first read the book. (Click to see a sample spread
. Text ©1999 by Karen Hesse. Illustrations ©1999 by Jon J. Muth. Reproduced with permission of Scholastic, Inc.) (Ages 5 and older) --Jean Lenihan
From Publishers Weekly
"Up and down the block,/ cats pant,/ heat wavers off tar patches in the broiling alleyway./ Miz Grace and Miz Vera bend, tending beds of drooping lupines," as a whole neighborhood waits for rain. The narrator, Tessie, is the first one to see the "clouds rolling in,/ gray clouds, bunched and bulging under a purple sky," and she engineers a joyful rain dance with her three friends, Jackie-Joyce, Liz and Rosemary. The long-sought rain "freckles our feet, glazes our toes./ We turn in circles,/ glistening in our rain skin." According to Hesse's bio on the jacket flap, this text contains her initial exploration of motifs used first in her Newbery Medal-winning novel, Out of the Dust. With poetic and immediate language, she again captures the cleansing experience of rainfall after a long dry spell. In an auspicious debut, Muth's illustrations showcase an impressive range of perspectives, from the opening urban skyline to the subtle indication of the oncoming storm in the ruffling of a curtain to the girls' view looking up at their mothers from where they're dancing in the street. His inventive design sense and use of watercolors?smudges of shadow, glistening sidewalks and foggy city-scapes?are remarkable. This is an impressive tribute to those experiences that leave us "purely soothed,/ fresh as dew,/ turning toward the first sweet rays of the sun." Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.