Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Sunday 10 June 2018

Rain, rain, rain

 Maureen’s post covers a wide range of books about rain, from the youngest to the independently reading, covering a range of cultures and genres from non-fiction through story to song.

What an essential part of our world is rain, with so much of our country suffering from a lack, and others parts of the world having too much. I had chosen this topic and I am now sitting listening to the rain after what seems like quite a long break without any. When I started investigating, there were fewer books than I expected with rain – rather than just weather – as their main focus.

Home in the Rain by Bob Graham.
Francie and her mum travel home in the rain from Grandma’s, with Francie trying to find a name for her expected baby sister. Rain is not the most important part of the story but it is the visual and sound backdrop to almost every page.

Rain by Manya Stojic
African animals yearn for the upcoming rainy season, waiting for the ‘dry’ to break. They can all see, feel and hear it coming, then its arrival and finally the memory of it, being left first with verdant greens and finally with the slowly drying landscape again. Bright primary-coloured illustrations.

Mrs Noah’s Pockets by Jackie Morris and James Mayhew
Based on the traditional story of Noah and his ark, with pairs of animals – apart from the troublesome creatures which Noah wants to leave behind. Mrs Noah has other ideas and creates a magic coat with deep pockets into which she hides the unicorn, griffin and other mythical creatures. Mayhew’s illustrations depict well the ongoing rain and the eventual sunshine.

The Drop in My Drink by Meredith Hooper and Chris Coady
This is the story of water on our planet, its cyclical nature and the fact that it is a constantly revolving commodity. The irregularly appearing phrase “the drop in my drink” keeps returning the reader to the main purpose of the book: water, where it comes from, how it behaves, why it matters. It’s wordy for picture book format, but it’s fascinating.

Bleakboy and Hunter Stand Out in the Rain by Steven Herrick
Though rain is not an important theme in the book, Herrick introduces each of the title characters during a rainstorm. At the beginning, Hunter is a bully but slowly his better nature is kindled and he and others in the class work together for the better good of children less fortunate than themselves and for environmental issues. For me, rain is a metaphor rather than just a literal event.

What Makes it Rain? by Katie Daynes
This brightly illustrated ‘lift the flap’ book is a great introduction for young readers and looks at questions about weather and gives the answer under the flaps. It includes things like “How big is a raindrop?” and “Can I touch a rainbow?” It includes one of my pet peeves of anthropomorphic animals, but the content otherwise is great.

Rain or Shine by David Melling
The funny bunnies with their pogo-stick activities discover weather. The rhyming text, occasionally too wordy, is suited to younger readers. Again there are anthropomorphic animals, but they always appeal to the target audience.

Big Fella Rain by Beryl Webber and Fern Martins
Another title which looks at the change from the dry season to the wet, and how everything waits for the expecting change. The spare poetic language complements the illustrations which incorporate Aboriginal dot painting techniques showing the animals of the landscape and how they benefit from the changing weather patterns. I enjoyed her depiction of the rain.

Singing in the Rain based on the song by Freed and Brown; illustrated by Tim Hopgood
This book is hard to read for those who know and love the song, and I just want to sing it – even with my tuneless voice. The children all have rainbow coloured raingear which brings a bright element to each page. There is a CD with the song sung by Doris Day as well as a ‘read’ version and one with ‘turn the page’ prompts. Another with the ‘wetness’ well represented.

Drought by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley
Wonderful portrayal by both words and pictures of the cracked dry reds and endless blue of drought-affected land, as a child tells the story of the changes in her environment. French’s language is spare and poetic and Whatley’s pencil and acrylic wash illustrations are superb. Once the rain arrives, the paint drips down the page. ‘Who knew rain could dim the day?’

What titles have I missed? Any titles which are your favourites for the topic of rain?

Maureen Mann
Retired teacher librarian and avid reader


  1. What a diverse range of rain related contexts and information there is to be found in picture books. A great collection of very appropriate stories for this time of the year.

  2. The Story of Rosy Dock by Jeannie Baker is another favourite 'rain' book of mine. I also have memories of another title, which focussed on Lake Eyre and the animal and plant life that flourished after the rains...it may have been Desert Lake by Pamela Freeman. Also, do we know if Bruce Whatley's illustrations for drought are with his left hand (Flood), or with his right hand imitating his left hand (Fire)...or
    On a completely different note, has everyone seen the story of 101 Collective Nouns by Tasmanian author Jennifer Cossins, which recently was mentioned by Anne Hathaway on the Ellen show? You can't buy that publicity (reparka.com.au)