With expertly crafted, economical text and vivid photographs, April Pulley Sayre brings readers a tribute to the wonders of rain itself.
Alongside pleasing rhymes (“Rain plops. / It drops. / It patters. / It spatters.”) and satisfying alliteration (“the sky darkens with storm”), Sayre turns her lens to the natural world and how it responds to the water cycle. She opens with the mere anticipation of rain, as dark clouds form and insects take cover. The first drops land gently, then fall harder, making mud and filling the crevices of foliage. But Sayre doesn’t stop there: She shows readers what happens when the rain stops, the beautiful patterns it makes and how the earth responds to the gift it has received.
Sayre’s colorful photo-illustrations seem to ripple with life and movement: An insect’s wing twitches here; water droplets fall there. She varies her focus, sometimes showing a flower or insect as if it’s inches from our noses, and other times panning back to view pattering rain in puddles.
The book’s concluding pages delve further into the science of rain with facts about cloud formation, the shapes of raindrops and what they’re capable of—magnifying their surroundings, reflecting light, hydrating insects and more. The final note is one that only a scientist and poet like Sayre could pull off so beautifully: “Raindrops Inside You,” which describes how humans return raindrops to the sky through our breath and drying tears. A well-rounded list for further reading includes informational books and a poetry collection.
The miracle that is rain has never been so captivating.
Julie Danielson features authors and illustrators at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog.