Review: Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre

raindrops roll

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre

The author of Eat Like a Bear returns with another great nonfiction picture book.  In this book she offers the joy of rain and water.  Told in a poetic way, the text conveys the anticipation of rain that you can feel coming and the changes in the sky.  When the rain arrives, it makes noise, makes things wet, including animals out in the weather.  There is running water, mud, all sorts of changes take place.  When the rain stops, the raindrops remain and weigh things down, dot and cling.  They change things as they linger until the sun returns to dry them away.

Sayre’s poem dances like the rain itself, pattering along and showing the beauty of the rain.  This is a book that celebrates darkening skies and weather, showing the importance of rain, the way that insects protect themselves from it, and the dazzle that it leaves behind.  Sayre manages to convey science along the way, though the focus of the book continues to be the loveliness of this type of weather.

Her photographs are part of the dazzle of this book.  They are large, clear and brilliantly done.  She captures insects before and after the rain, drops that merge together, rain as it runs and dots.  Her photos are colorful, filled with water and gorgeous.

A perfect book to share in the spring or just before heading out with umbrellas into the garden.  This is just the sort of book we need to encourage children to get outside and play in the rain.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Beach Lane Books.

Review: Whale Trails by Lesa Cline-Ransome

whale trails

Whale Trails: Before and Now by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Released January 20, 2015.

A little girl and her father run a whale boat that takes people out onto the water to view the whales in the sea.  Her family has worked the sea there for generations, so she explains how different their search for whales is from those in the past where the whalers were hunting whales.  Each pair of pages shows modern day and then turns in sepia tones to the past.  From changes to the pier and the businesses along it to the design of the boats themselves to the routes and tools used, each pair of pages show how things have changed.  Yet at night as they head home, the bay is the same and so are the whales that live there.

Cline-Ransome has cleverly combined history with always-popular whale watching, creating a book that invites exploration.  Not only is this a look at the changes of the boats over time and what they do with the whales in the bay, but more subtly and importantly, it also looks at the changes in attitudes towards wildlife.  Throughout it is a hopeful book, examining the past with a frank and factual approach. 

Karas’ illustrations clearly show the modern and the historical side-by-side.  His sepia tones spread all the way to edges of the page while the illustrations themselves are framed by lines.  The more colorful modern pages have illustrations that take up the entire page and are less formal feeling thanks to the lack of framing.  These cues will help children keep the two time periods clear.

Clever, smart and engaging, this mix of modern and historical whaling is a superb addition to any library collection.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt & Co.