Saturday, March 25, 2017

Though April Showers May Come Your Way...: Rain by Linda Ashman and Christian Robinson

It's true! April showers bring May flowers. But it is also true that not everybody appreciates the possibilities of precipitation! Some people grumble when it rumbles and rant when it rains.

"Nasty galoshes!

Blasted overcoat!"

Two next-door neighbors clearly have different reactions to rain.

One, a crusty old curmudgeon, finds rain gear, puddles, and raindrops reprehensible. The other, an ebullient tot, cheerfully dons his froggy rain hat and overshoes and hops outside to jump with joy in the puddles.

As the two make their way outside onto the sidewalk, the old guy grumps his way down the street, stabbing at the sky with his black umbrella, while the boy greets wet passersby with a peppy Ribbit! The old gent grouses at the headlines of his soggy newspaper, while the little boy splashes with a happy "hoppy hop," past the shops on the street. Both turn into the appropriately named Rain or Shine Cafe, where the cranky old guy calls for coffee--BLACK--to suit his mood. The boy requests cookies and cocoa!


Some folks are ever the sourpuss pessimists and some are always on the sunny side of street. Shall the twain never meet?

Not so, in the just-published new board book edition of Linda Ashman's Rain! (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), in which the grumpus forgets his soggy cap in the cafe and the boy races out to return it. This odd couple come together again in a rainy day raprochement in which each one tries on a different hat, a cookie is shared, and it looks like some sunny days are ahead for both of them. With the charming metro-style illustrations from the Caldecott-winning artist (for Last Stop on Market Street) Christian Robinson setting the cityscape stage, a little spring rain is just a chance to make a new friend. "Altogether delightful," cheerily croaked Kirkus in their starred review for the original 2013 edition.

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