Rainbows delight with vivid colors, magical evanescence, and unpredictable appearances.
When Ava sees a smiley-faced rainbow, she makes a wish: “If only you could stay forever.” In her drab, gray room, she dreams that the rainbow remains and awakens to a colorful, transformed town. Tourists invade, the rainbow’s image goes viral, and scholars lecture about rainbows. Despite great hardship during a cold winter, the colorful arc stays in place; but as time goes on, the townspeople ignore the rainbow’s beauty. They even make it an eyesore, a handy surface for posters, neon signs, and antennae. When people arrive to view a Russian water sparrow that’s just stopping over, Ava and the rainbow learn that it may be best for the rainbow to once again become “a rare and precious sight.” A castle at the rainbow’s end on the last double-page spread is the only hint that the book is set in England (Adamson’s home). Ava is white, but there are a few brown-skinned people among the mostly white townspeople and the visitors. Cartoonish, loosely drawn renderings of the people and the buildings contrast with the smoothly fluid rainbow, green fields, and sky in the pencil, watercolor, and Photoshop digital illustrations. Adamson pays homage to Maurice Sendak in a final image of Ava dressed as “Really Rosie” singing to her rainbow friend.
A sweet cautionary tale about a world that requires constant novelty that’s just a little evanescent itself. (Picture book. 4-7)