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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Rain, written and illustrated by Sam Usher. templar books, Candlewick Press, Random House. 2017. $23.00 ages 4 and up

"So I said, "Grandad, I'd like to go on a voyage with sea monsters." And Granddad said, "Let's just wait for the rain to stop." But did the rain stop? No! So we waited some more. And Granddad got very busy writing. I said, "Granddad, I'd like to visit a floating city ... with acrobats and carnivals and musical boatmen!" And Granddad said ... "Quick! Let's go - I need to get this in the mail!"

Who doesn't love rain?

Sam and Grandpa are together for the day. Will they let rain dampen that? Sam badly wants to be outside, enjoying the puddles and seeing his reflection in them. Grandpa wants to wait until the rain stops.

What a disappointment! Sam sits at the window waiting and pining, and reading and wishing, and drinking hot chocolate and reading. Grandpa is busy with his own work: reading the paper, checking the mail, doing some writing. Sam continues to stare through the window at the rainfall while imagining adventure with sea monsters and floating cities. Suddenly, Grandpa has a need to put his letter in the mail.

The rain has stopped. The adventure has just begun! Was it worth waiting for? INDEED!

You cannot help but want to read this book again and again. There is so much to see, to ponder, to wonder at. You will notice something new each time you share it. It's a family story that reflects a special bond between generations, that embraces patience and adventure, and that shows the beauty of the natural world.

Mr. Usher's ink and watercolor images are brilliant. Inside, the detailed artwork is bright and lively. Outside, the spreads are dark and filled with raindrops and rising water. Inside, Sam spends his time watching through the windowpanes while also reading books meant to up his desire for water adventures. Outside, people brave the onslaught with umbrellas and rain boots. The spread showing their reflection as they step outside into the water that laps their doorstep is glorious!

Pair this with Snow (2015) and Sun (2017) and you are past halfway to celebrating each of the year's seasons.                                                                                     

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