When the Rain Comes by Alma Fullerton, Illustrations by Kim La Fave
Published October 3, 2016
Hardcover, 32 pages
Content rating: G
It is time to plant the rice crop in Malini’s Sri Lankan community, and the little girl is both excited and nervous to help for the first time. What if she does it wrong? Will she be responsible if the crop fails? When the oxcart rumbles in loaded with seedlings, she reluctantly agrees to watch the big, imposing animal while the driver takes a break. Suddenly, the skies go dark with monsoon rain.
I love books that expose children to another culture, especially when it is in the form of an exciting story with a heroine character. When the Rain Comes is such a book, set in Sri Lanka in a small agricultural village where rice is the main income and food source. A little girl named Malini lives in such a village and on this day, it will be her first time helping the family plant the crop. But suddenly a flash flood pours down the road and separates her from her family. She is stuck with the huge ox and the cart full of the rice seedlings that Malini understands must not be lost to the flood.
In free verse with vivid language, the author brings to life Malini's exciting first day helping her family. Because of the disastrous and fast-moving nature of the storm, Malini needs to act quickly and courageously when she realizes that it's up to her to get the ox and cart up to higher ground once the heavy rains begin rising on the road.
My son and I really liked this story. Malini's excitement and later her terror and fear are very palpable without being too scary for young children who read the book. The story highlights that even young children are courageous and their actions can make a huge difference in their family. The illustrations beautifully depict the colorful village and later the strength and fierceness of the storm. Through color and sketches, the illustrator captured the culture of the Sri Lankan people and the monsoon season. My son and I loved these unique illustrations.
This is a beautiful book with an exciting plot and a heroine any little child can look up to. It's a great way to introduce one of the many Asian cultures to our children so as to build in them respect and admiration for other nationalities and ways of life. I don't think my son has ever seen an ox before. Not one up close as Malini was with the ox she had to move to higher ground. This opened up a conversation about ox and how prevalent they are in some countries for agriculture. So although fiction, this book can be used as an educational tool as well. An excellent addition to any home and school library.
Disclosure: Thanks to Pajama Press for sending us this book for review. We were not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
About the Author and Illustrator:
Alma Fullerton's free-verse novels for juvenile and young adult readers have earned her multiple nominations and awards, including the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award and the CLA Book of the Year Honour. Her first picture book, A Good Trade, has been a White Ravens Choice, a Bank Street Best Book, and a nominee for the OLA Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award and the Kentucky Bluegrass Awards. Alma lives in Midland, Ontario.
Kim La Fave is a multi-award-winning illustrator and designer in paint, pencils, or digital media. His honors include the Governor General’s Literary Award for Illustration, the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the Ruth Schwartz Children’s Book Award, and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award. A graduate of the Alberta College of Art, Kim also honed his skills in Toronto and New York before returning to British Columbia where he now lives with his wife and family.
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