A joyous tribute to the wonders of a rainy day for the pluviophile in all of us.

HELLO, RAIN!

A child and pet dog relish a rainy day.

Child and pet stare out the window as clouds gather. Excitedly, as the rain goes “plink, plunk, plonk” on the rooftop, the child dons a raincoat and boots and grabs an umbrella. (Even the dog gets a rain jacket.) The pair delight in the sensory adventure that is play in the rain: They ponder words for rain, the creatures who seek it, and the growing things nourished by it; jump in puddles; launch paper boats near a “curbside waterfall”; and find a quiet spot under a tree to sit for “whisper-talk.” When thunder and lightning fill the sky, they run inside to get warm and dry. In text that begs to be shared aloud, evocative figurative language (“the air is full of waiting” and “umbrellas bloom”), a heaping dose of onomatopoeia (“Crack! Flash!”), and delicious vocabulary (deluge, drizzle, and bursting) vividly animate the thrill of heading outside when “the sky is an adventure.” The illustrations themselves burst with life, movement, and mirth. Cerulean (for the rain) and yellow (for raincoats) hues enchant. One especially pleasing spread gives readers an aerial view of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that benefit from the drink that is the cool, fresh rain. Afterward, the sun and even a rainbow dazzle: “Hello, Sun!” The child has rosy-cheeked pink skin and straight, black hair in pigtails.

A joyous tribute to the wonders of a rainy day for the pluviophile in all of us. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3819-0

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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