A grumpy man fights a rainstorm and other pedestrians but learns a lesson when his umbrella goes flying.
Pithy poetry pairs with artful illustrations in this Canadian import, translated from the French. A dark double-page landscape of gray rooftops pelted with rain shows a swath of white light shading into yellow. In the upper right-hand corner is the couplet, “He grumbled at the raindrops / on the rooftops of the town.” And in the next two-page spread, “He growled at the clouds / and at the crowds / that slowed him down.” The wind is so strong the grumpy white man bends nearly double against it. In the distance is a patisserie with a red-and-white–striped awning and a little white boy staring, “entranced,” into the window. The man sees none of this. A gust of wind sends his umbrella flying, and the little boy catches and returns it, immediately returning his attention to the window of treats. With just a moment’s hesitation, the man hands the umbrella back to the boy, enters the shop, and buys a juicy raspberry tart for the boy. When he shares half of it with the man, the atmosphere beneath the umbrella is transformed to tropical sunlight. Arbona’s fantastical illustrations play with perspective, shape, and pops of bright color that enliven scenes primarily composed of black, gray, and white. Buquet’s text is translated into well-crafted verse by Woods.
Memorable and instructive without a hint of didacticism. (Picture book. 4-8)