illustrated by Jamel Akib
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-An evocative portrait of the tension preceding the start of monsoon season in northern India and the sense of relief accompanying its arrival. A child awaits the rains while enduring heat that makes her feel “like a crocodile crouching snap-jawed.” She observes signs of the imminent downpour in the weather conditions, her family’s behavior, and activity in the community. Krishnaswami’s poetic text rides faithfully on the child’s sensibilities: as it begins to pour, “Umbrellas turn into walking forests. The raindrops make me laugh out loud, thudding on earth and rooftops and on my skin.” Akib’s impressionistic, pastel illustrations make stunning use of extreme perspectives, as his characters shift from hope for the monsoon to fear of its power to excitement as the sky opens. Full spreads capture the stillness before the cloudburst and the energy it brings. Text and illustrations depict the flavor of the city: coins tossed at the feet of a statue of Ganesh; streets crowded with taxis, motor scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians; Mummy buying food at the sidewalk marketplace. This powerful book depicts a universal occurrence, while relating the expectations, customs, and needs of a particular locale. Pair it with Catherine Stock’s Gugu’s House (Clarion, 2001), which is set in Zimbabwe, and Karen Hesse’s Come On, Rain! (Scholastic, 1999).