A short rhyming tale merges nature and debris to create art from remains of rainy days.
When the day turns gray and rain starts to fall, “that’s when rain fish come out and play.” From found materials (fallen leaves and feathers and items clearly plucked from the recycling bucket and waste stream), images of fishes are created and depicted at play in the flowing gutters. Through Ehlert’s distinctive collage illustrations and playful text, readers follow the life cycle of rain fishes and are encouraged to wonder where these fishes will go next. The book invites children to look closely at the waste they discard, prompting them to consider how orange peels, ticket stubs, cardboard, bottle caps, cans, and other garbage make their way to the stream—both the waste stream and Ehlert’s fanciful rain-fed stream—and the role of humans in their creation. The collage illustrations of found materials are vivid, although they need to be seen from a distance for readers to truly appreciate them and see the rain fishes, making this ideal for storytime or classroom use. A list of images of discards and debris that were used for the illustrations is appended and should be useful for craft activities after a read-aloud of the book.
This picture book and its lyrical text will make readers see fishes in unexpected places. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)