This early-reader riff on cumulative folk tales features a girl in pursuit of the end of a rainbow who discovers there’s no pot of gold.
Setting out, the girl invites in turn her cat, a rabbit, a bird, a turtle and a horse to come with her. As each animal joins, the simple, childlike illustrations show a thought bubble of the item each animal is hoping to find. The cat hopes for a fish; the rabbit, a carrot; the bird, a birdbath; the turtle, a butterfly; and the horse, an apple. When they evidently reach the end—at any rate, they can no longer see it—everyone is disappointed, but the girl, undaunted, says, “We didn’t find the end of the rainbow. But we found something better. We found new friends.” Even for a first-level reader, the plot is thin and spans only 24 pages. While the ink-and-watercolor illustrations are amiable, the overall effect is more of a one-liner than a sustained narrative. Still, it fills the bill for those children just beginning to tackle independent reading and should provide a satisfying sense of mastery without much angst.
Though children will probably move on from it quickly, it will definitely help them on their ways. (Early reader. 4-7)