MONSOON

Richly colored illustrations and lyrical text portray a girl and her family in India waiting for the monsoon season to begin. “[G]ravelly, grainy, gritty dust” blows on the wind and won’t stop until the rains come. The level of anticipation is so high that every engine rumble sounds like thunder. A koel (songbird) sings “in a voice like melting sunshine,” and heat waves “dance upon rocks and shimmer over rooftops.” Sometimes the viewpoint is angled upward to emphasize the sky’s importance. Saturated colors fill every bit of every page (there’s no white space at all), fully conveying the hot, dusty air and the sense of impatience. When the “stretching, sweeping sheet of rain” finally arrives, the girl and her brother dance joyously in the street. An expressive story about seasons, extremes, and waiting. (glossary, author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2003

ISBN: 0-374-35015-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences.

LOLA PLANTS A GARDEN

From the Lola & Leo series

Hoping to have a garden like the one in her poetry book, Lola plants seeds, waits and weeds, and finally celebrates with friends.

The author and illustrator of Lola Loves Stories (2010) and its companion titles take their appealing character outside. Inspired by her favorite poem, the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (repeated on the front endpapers), Lola chooses her favorite flowers from library books. Helped by her parents, she grows a grandly diverse flower garden, just right for a celebration with peas and strawberries from the family plot. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations show her garden in all its stages. They also show the copper-toned preschooler reading on her mother’s lap, making a flower book, a beaded string with bells and shells, a little Mary Mary doll and cupcakes for the celebration. Her bunchy ponytails are redone, and her flower shirt is perfect for the party. Not only has she provided the setting; she makes up a story for her friends. The simple sentences of the text and charming pictures make this a good choice for reading aloud or early reading alone. On the rear endpapers, the nursery rhyme has been adapted to celebrate “Lola, Lola, Extraordinary.”

It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-694-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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RAIN

An evocative depiction of the rain cycle in the African savannah marks Stojic’s debut as writer and illustrator. Each page is filled with color, movement, and an impressionistic view of the African landscape. Brush strokes seem to leap off the page, and the representation of thunder, lightening, heat, and sunshine are visually exciting. Close-up drawings of the lion's large head, the porcupine's spiky bristles, and the zebra’s black and white face contrasted with its pink tongue, fill the pages along with giant lettering. The story begins as the dry season is ending. Each animal reacts to a sensory perception of the coming rainy season and tells another in cumulative style. Animals hear and see and taste and feel the rain. After it comes, they can’t feel and taste and hear it, but they can enjoy the benefits it brings. Then the cycle repeats. Stojic emphasizes action verbs, enlarged within the already oversized text. Water gushes and gurgles; mud is “cool, soft and squelchy.” The large-size text and colorful illustrations make this a good title for read-aloud and its predictive, repetitive text lends itself to group participation and discussion. A delightful title from a talented newcomer. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-517-80085-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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