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Sunday, May 18, 2014

TAP TAP BOOM BOOM, written by Elizabeth Bluemle and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2014. $19.00 ages 4 and up

One girl
all fancy.
She's late
for dancing.
Can't wait!
Fast dash
lightning flash."

Ah, summer in the city!

It's headed our way...I know it is. The weather gods say we are expecting rain for the next two days. The bonus will be in the arrival of green buds on our trees, and the greening of winter weary grass and perennials. Isn't rain a sure sign of spring's arrival? Won't summer follow spring? We keep hoping so.

To that end, I want to tell you about this new celebration of a city rainstorm. It starts quietly with the light patter of rain, and builds to a crescendo of booming thunder and crackling lightning. All the while, life in the city goes on. As the storm threatens and it looks as if umbrellas will not offer enough protection from the swirling winds, the children seek shelter underground. There, in the subway, they meet many others who were looking for somewhere dry to wait out the storm. Even wet dogs find respite from the downpour, and happily share their wetness with anyone within spraying distance. So many gather it seems like a party! When the storm ends and they make their way outside once more, they are greeted by a lovely surprise!

I love the burgeoning rhythms of the text, which capture the sudden onslaught of rain and wind. Kids will enjoy the noises the reader makes in bringing that noise to the audience. It makes your toes want to tap, and your voices to chant the storm words that abound. It's a great break in an otherwise mundane day.

G. Brian Karas uses collages of photographs, gouache and pencil to create the detailed and delightful images that give weight to the suddenness of the storm and the fun that comes when people gather together to share an experience. A multicultural cast of characters garner attention and each can be followed through the action that ensues when the storm forces a search for shelter.

Full of warmth and community camaraderie, this is a book that will be shared on numerous occasions as we all begin to experience those rains that make spring and summer so special.

"Now people
through puddle
We wave
"So long!"
"Keep dry!"

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