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Monsoon Hardcover – October 6, 2003

5 customer reviews

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Hardcover, October 6, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Nolan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (October 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374350159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374350154
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #722,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Uma Krishnaswami is the author of many books for children. She is also on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Shanshad VINE VOICE on July 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes, when a picture book deals with another culture, it sacrifices story and style for explanation to it's readers about the who where and what is going on. They can become text heavy and too pedantic for young listeners who are more interested in what happens next than a rounded education. The rarest-and the best-multicultural books don't try to explain at all, they let you discover as you read the story. Ms. Krishnaswami's MONSOON is one such jewel of a picture book. It tells the story of a young Indian girl waiting for the monsoon to come after all the hot, dry weather. It shows the cycle of seasons that is necessary for living and the simple poetic beauty of the place the narrator lives.

The theme of this story--a child impatiently waiting for a change in the weather-is a fairly common one in literature, especially picture books. But the heart and soul of this story is India, and properly so. It's no surprise to anyone that reads this picture book that the author grew up in India. In the story India is not a far away or exotic place, it is home-and Ms. Krishnaswami's poetic prose paints that love of her home on every page, with every word. The text on each page is brief, but it is text to be savored, full of rich imagery as everyone prepares for the monsoon rains. This is clear from the very first line: "All summer we have worn the scent of dust . . ." The author does not fall back on old clichés, but finds new metaphors to describe the town and the coming rains. The result is description that is refreshingly vibrant and just different enough to tantalize--but not to alienate-readers. It allows me to step into another country as if I were a native, experiencing the anticipation through the young narrator as she waits, worries and hopes for the rains to come.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Vara Ramakrishnan on April 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can't decide if I love the beauty of the paintings or the words more in this picture book. My overwhelming reaction was nostalgia for India, where I grew up, yet the book appealed to my toddler, who has no memories of India. She gave it her five star rating, by saying "Again" when I finished reading it - that's reserved for the most captivating picture books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Saxena on April 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I received this book yesterday and read it to my 2 1/2 year old daughter. (I try to get books about India whenever possible because it's the land of my husband's birth.) She asked me to read it twice through and then said, "That's a good story, Mommy!" And we've read it twice already today!

I don't think anything else needs to be said!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. O. on March 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my nephew's 2nd birthday (which was, coincidentally, spent in India during the monsoons). I almost wanted a copy of it for myself, so evocative were the illustrations and text. My nephew is almost 4 and his parents tell me that it is one of his favorite books. He's at an age where the appeal of a book does not of course lie in the memories it evokes, but in how captivating the the illustrations and the story are. I have to add that this is not one of those tiresome books that presents India as the exotic land of snakes and snake-charmers, and that in itself is a huge selling point.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is great for young children, with sunset colored illustrations of Indian cities. This would be a nice book to introduce young children to India and the monsoon season. Highly recommended!
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