From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-An evocative portrait of the tension preceding the start of monsoon season in northern India and the sense of relief accompanying its arrival. A child awaits the rains while enduring heat that makes her feel "like a crocodile crouching snap-jawed." She observes signs of the imminent downpour in the weather conditions, her family's behavior, and activity in the community. Krishnaswami's poetic text rides faithfully on the child's sensibilities: as it begins to pour, "Umbrellas turn into walking forests. The raindrops make me laugh out loud, thudding on earth and rooftops and on my skin." Akib's impressionistic, pastel illustrations make stunning use of extreme perspectives, as his characters shift from hope for the monsoon to fear of its power to excitement as the sky opens. Full spreads capture the stillness before the cloudburst and the energy it brings. Text and illustrations depict the flavor of the city: coins tossed at the feet of a statue of Ganesh; streets crowded with taxis, motor scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians; Mummy buying food at the sidewalk marketplace. This powerful book depicts a universal occurrence, while relating the expectations, customs, and needs of a particular locale. Pair it with Catherine Stock's Gugu's House (Clarion, 2001), which is set in Zimbabwe, and Karen Hesse's Come On, Rain! (Scholastic, 1999).Liza Graybill, Worcester Public Library, MA
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PreS-Gr. 2. A welcome glimpse into another culture and climate, this is the latest of Krishnaswami's children's books about India. In a parched Indian city, a girl and her family wait for the end-of-summer rains that will sweep away "the scent of dust--gravelly, grainy, gritty dust--blowing on the winds and sprinkling through our clothes and hair." The girl's mother worries about floods, but the little narrator confesses another fear: "What if they never come, those monsoon rains?" The girl's spare narration gives the impression of serious oppression, while Akib's sun-baked art, hazy like a hot summer day, conveys the richness of a dry, dusty setting as well as the pleasant, active household; the busy streets featuring cattle-and-car traffic; the tea stalls; the Bollywood posters; and Hindi sculptures. The girl's heightened language nicely captures the intensity of both her longing for the rains and her relief when they finally arrive. An afterword provides details about the nature, geography, and dangers of monsoon rains, and a glossary defines the four Hindi words used in the story. Abby NolanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved