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Rain, Rain

by Maryann Kovalski

Wouldn’t we all like a magic charm to drive away the rain when it arrives on precisely the wrong day? Maryann Kovalski, a well-known Canadian author/illustrator, uses the old folk rhyme “Rain, rain, go away” as a bouncy base for a successful reader for young children. Sisters Jenny and Joanna, who already have appeared in some of Kovalski’s other books (Take Me Out to the Ball Game and The Wheels on the Bus) return, this time eagerly anticipating a trip to the beach with Grandma. A charming detail is added when both girls go to bed in their bathing suits.

Kovalski has a talent for creating a clear text that is never bland in spite of repetition. She writes with vigour about the rain pouring down: “Outside it dripped, it dropped, it drizzled.” Her illustration of a gloriously cluttered bathroom reminds me of Shirley Hughes, a British author/illustrator, as Kovalski creates a wonderful indoor “pool” with Grandma, Jenny, Joanna, Max the dog, and a rather frantic cat all crammed into a clawfooted bathtub. Flippers on the floor and water sloshing over the sides of the tub complete the picture. Notable too is Kovalski’s use of golden yellow, which seems to symbolize Grandma’s loving ability to transform disappointment into an indoor adventure. Here is a reader that’s full of fun, with watercolour illustrations that perfectly complement the text. This is a strong addition to the First Flight series of readers.