When rain comes to the parched African savanna, the animals use all their senses to track the storm. The porcupine smells rain in the air. The zebras see lightning. The baboons hear thunder. The rhino feels the first drops. And the lion tastes the cool water. For a time, the grasslands abound with new green leaves, juicy fruits, and fresh pools of water. But soon the hot sun dries out the land, and the animals must again wait for the next big rain.
Manya Stojic's picture book debut is as satisfying and refreshing as the rain she describes. With paintings that are exuberant and saturated with color and a simple text that rolls off the tongue with pleasure and ease, here is a book parents and teachers will enjoy sharing again and again.
Brief, simple, repetitive phrases printed in a large, bold, sans serif black typeface proclaim the importance of rain to the animals of the African plains. The word spreads as the porcupine smells the coming rain, the zebras see it, the baboons hear it, the rhino feels it, and the lion tastes it as it arrives. Each animal takes its own pleasure in the aftermath of the rain, until the soil is dry and the wait for rain begins again. The double pages are flooded with color, intense colors that contrast a blue sky with flaring yellows springing from glowing red-orange. Parts of the animals are rendered almost crudely with swishy brush strokes left unblended. The intent is to stir raw emotion, to get the reader to empathize with the animals' craving for rain and their joy in its arrival. 2000, Crown Publishers Inc./Random House, Ages 3 to 8, $17.99 and $15.95. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia MarantzChildren's Literature