Synopses & Reviews
Once upon a sunny day, the sky clouded over, and the rain came down. The chickens squawked, the dog barked, the baby cried, the traffic snarled, the groceries fell, the people bickered, and still, the rain came down.
In pictures full of wit and good-natured humor, Caldecott Honor artist David Shannon captures the chaos that follows an unexpected downpour.
Rain or shine, here is an engaging story that will brighten the day of any reader.
"When the rain starts falling one morning, some chickens squawk, which makes a cat yowl. A dog barks at the cat, and a man yells at the dog, which causes his baby to try, and the man's wife shouts, 'Stop all that yelling!" A police officer blocks traffic to check on the domestic disturbance and soon the whole neighborhood is honking, bickering, and snapping at one another a chain reaction of human frustration. "And still, the rain came down." Shannon's, pacing re- flects the controlled chaotic scene in the urban, 19SOs-era neighborhood and builds dramatically to the cacophonous climax, making this a natural choice for reading aloud. Framed in white, large close illustrations show gently caricatured people, their faces distorted with irritation. Humorous details in the art-work relative the mood of increasing crankiness: in the comer of one painting, for example, a family of ducks boldly crosses the traffic-congested street in classic McCloskey fashion. At the height of the discord, Shannon pulls away to show a bird's-eye view of the noisy, cramped, waterlogged street while the text puts on the brakes: 'And then., . [page turn].. the rain stopped!" The sun comes out, and calm and good will are restored In the end we arrive almost where we started, in the backyard witt the man, his wife, their baby, and their pets peacefully enjoying the sunny afternoon. Want to settle down an overly rambunctious group! Let them blow off steam with this satisfyingly circular story-they'l be transformed by the time the storm passes." K.P.
The Horn Book, Sept/Oct. 2000
"Raindrops set off a chain reaction of temper tantrums, but a sudden break in the clouds makes the bad moods melt. A series of isolated vignettes begins with a noisy, muddy dog that aggravates its owner, so "the man yelled at the dog and woke up the baby. . . The dog barked louder. And still, the rain came down." Outside, a taxi driver beeps at a stopped truck, and in the next frame, the truck driver argues back. One by one, shop owners collide with pedestrians as tension accumulates, all to the refrain, "And still, the rain came down." After this series of intense close-ups, Shannon (No, David!) gives a bird's-eye view of the whole scene: small-town storefronts, bumper-to-bumper traffic and irritable people. But in the next spread, he swings down to street level and captures the moment that "the rain stopped! And so did the noise." The sunshine changes everything, and a second sequence of highly detailed paintings revisits each of the now-cooperative characters. Shannon expertly uses vertiginous angles as he builds suspense, then calms things down with a set of subdued portraits and a view of a quiet afternoon picnic. However, unlike Charlotte Zolotow's similarly conceived The Quarreling Book, which took a child's point of view, here the action is primarily among adults and may not hold readers' attention for repeated readings."
--Publishers Weekly, October 16, 2000
A rainstorm brings the city to a cacophonous halt in Shannon's spirited, beautifully illustrated new work. "On Saturday morning, the rain came down." It makes the chickens squawk, which makes the cat yowl, the dog bark, the man yell, his baby cry, and his wife shout. The chaos grows, out of the house and into the streets. Just as it seems a riot will ensue, the rain stops, and the crowd gradually untangles. The book ends in the backyard where it all began-with husband, wife, and baby picnicking serenely next to snoozing animals. The brief text is well paced and filled with words that build the story's tension and noise. But it's the colorful painted spreads that will most interest children.
Wild, detailed street scenes, filled with richly drawn characters and shifting perspectives, show the absurdity and humor in each incident that contributes to the larger chaos. Children will return to these scenes of raucous upheaval and sigh with relief when calm
The Rain Came Down
About the Author
Dr. Short is a division director at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in Washington, D.C. She has worked as a teacher, trainer, researcher, and curriculum/materials developer. Her work at CAL has concentrated on the integration of language learning with content-area instruction. Through several national projects, she has conducted research and provided professional development and technical assistance to local and state education agencies across the United States. She directed the ESL Standards and Assessment Project for TESOL and co-developed the SIOP model for sheltered instruction. Dr. Tinajero specializes in staff development and school-university partnership programs and has consulted with school districts in the U.S. to design ESL, bilingual, literacy, and bi-literacy programs. She has served on state and national advisory committees for standards development, including the English as a New Language Advisory Panel of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and the Texas Reading Academies. She is currently professor of Education and Interim Dean of the College of Education at the University of Texas at El Paso and was President of the National Association for Bilingual Education, 1997-2000. Dr. Schifini assists schools across the nation and around the world in developing comprehensive language and literacy programs for English learners. He has worked as an ESL teacher, reading specialist, school administrator and university professor. Through an arrangement with California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, Dr. Schifini currently serves as program consultant to two large teacher-training efforts in the area of reading for second language speakers of English. His research interests include early literacy and language development and the integration of language and content-area instruction.