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Friday, November 20, 2015

Once Upon A Rainy Day, written and illustrated by Edouard Manceau. Translated by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou. Owlkiids, 2015. 18.95 ages 5 and up

"But today it's raining. So Mr. Warbler doesn't venture outside, and the Big Bad Wolf sleeps in. And so it goes. The same old story, day in, day out, except when it rains. The trees know the story well: every morning they see the Big Bad Wolf race over to Oscar's house."

Are you up for adventure? The premise sounds mundane as the same story plays out every day - well, except when it rains! On rainy days, the actions of the characters are thwarted right from the start. And, my friends, this is one of those rainy days.

Most every day, Mr. Warbler is the first one awake and he sets out for the Big Bad Wolf's house where a special signal will awaken the wolf and set him on his daily routine. But, not today - it is raining. That doesn't stop the author from letting us know what usually happens!

On normal days, Wolf sets off in pursuit of his daily sustenance, beginning with Oscar. Oscar is of particular interest to Wolf as he is 'a delectable pig with plump thighs and tender feet' - the perfect meal, it would seem.

 I want to be in Oscar's procession on rainy days:

"He lived in the city before moving here with his entire library. Oscar adores rainy days like today. Snuggled all cozy and warm under a tartan blanket, he devours stacks of books."

On the days when it isn't raining, Oscar is an escape artist. He always manages to avoid Wolf by making a getaway on his bicycle and racing to Amadeus' house. And so it goes ... each animal that might serve as a meal for Wolf manages to find safety with another, leaving Wolf constantly chasing them. When they get to the end of the road, a final blast from a giant trumpet sends Wolf tumbling and grumbling about missing his meal. Then, he heads for home ready to begin all over again when Mr. Warbler awakens him in the morning - if it's sunny.

Because today is a rainy day we meet none of the characters who usually enact this wild, rambunctious saga. We rather see scenes of the places where the action takes place on sunny days. Here, there is no action and we are left to our own imaginations when considering how the tale plays out day, after day, after day - except when it rains!

A perfect book to share with a little one, allowing extended time to stop and talk, and picture the scenes as they might look on the next sunny day.

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