COME ON, RAIN!

Hesse (Just Juice, p. 1600, etc.) hits some high notes in this story of parched summer days in the city. Young Tess watches as her mother tends to her woeful wilting vegetable patch; the heat is enveloping. Tess, from her perch on the fire escape, scans the sky in hopes of deliverance, and sure enough, those are rain clouds she spies. When the clouds break, everyone steps joyfully to the rain dance. Hesse’s language is a quiet, elegant surge—“ ‘Rain’s coming, Mamma,’ I say. Mamma turns to the window and sniffs. ‘It’s about time,’ she murmurs,” but it can become ornate (“trinkets of silver rain” and music that “streaks like night lightning”) and jarring amid the contained beauty of the rest of the writing. Muth contributes fine watercolor atmospherics, in sultry summer scenes where the heat is almost palpable, and raucous wet scenes of jubilant dancers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-33125-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1998

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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THE NAME JAR

Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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