Here are some new rainy day picture books for little listeners and big readers, mixed with a few new titles that I just couldn't resist.
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"The Puddleman," written and illustrated by Ramond Briggs. Join Tom and his grandfather on a walk down the lane as Tom searches for puddles. While his grandfather says that there aren't any puddles because it hasn't rained in a while, Tom insists that it's just that the puddles haven't been put in yet. Who is right? While his grandfather is talking to a neighbor, Tom meets the Puddleman and gets to help him put puddles in their places - and he's got his answer! Briggs manages to convey both the trusting and imaginative nature of children and the bemusement of adults in his charming and magical stories, and this is no exception.
"Pop's Bridge," by Eve Bunting, illustrated by C.F. Payne. Robert's father is a skywalker - a high-climbing iron worker - and he's helping build San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge in the 1930s. Robert and his friend Charlie, whose father is a bridge painter, watch the construction of the bridge after school and work on a jigsaw puzzle of the bridge some afternoons. When Charlie wonders aloud which of them will put the last piece of the puzzle in, Robert knows his father should be the one to do it - after all, Robert thinks of it as his father's bridge. But in the wake of a terrible accident on the nearly completed structure, Robert realizes that all the men, working together, have built the bridge. This beautifully illustrated story turns an enormous 4 year-long project into something kids can understand and get excited about, and the detailed Author's Note adds even more interesting facts.
"Rainstorm," by Barbara Lehman. This wordless picture book shows a stormy day, a mansion, and a young boy, bored and restless despite his many toys. He finds a key under a chair which fits a trunk with a ladder inside leading down into a tunnel. Our bold and bored hero follows the tunnel to a door and more stairs and eventually finds himself in a lighthouse on a sunny island. He and the other kids there quickly become friends and spend the day playing until it's time to go and he follows the tunnel back home. Soon his new friends pay him a surprise visit!
"Hush Little Digger," by Ellen Olson-Brown, illustrated by Lee White. Sung to the tune of "Hush Little Baby," this new take on an old classic will be welcomed enthusiastically by diggers of all sizes. A red backhoe starts things off with a roar, and front-end loaders, dump trucks, and asphalt pavers are quick to follow as father and son scoop, push, mash, and pave their way to a great afternoon in this bouncy little book. A note to readers: one or two of the rhymes are a bit awkward, so it may be helpful to read the story through to yourself before reading it aloud to your little one.
"Rainy Day," by Patricia Lakin, illustrated by Scott Nash. More fun with the reptilian heroes of "Beach Day" as the four friends find that they're not in the mood to stay inside anymore. The crocodiles don their raincoats and boots and venture out into the drizzle to play. They play miniature golf until they lose the ball. Then they play baseball until there's a ball for everyone - big balls of icy hail! Giving up on the outdoors, they follow a new pal to the ideal spot for finding something new to do - the library. Cartoony illustrations spotlight the croco-quartet's big toothy grins and changing moods delightfully against the rainy day.
"Who Likes Rain?" written and illustrated by Wong Herbert Yee. This lovely rhyming story is as much about spring as rainy days, so keep it in mind for springtime, too. A little girl wonders aloud - who needs rain showers? Trees and flowers, of course! An irritated cat dashes in as she goes out to investigate her father's truck, catch raindrops in her hat, chase a frog, and listen to raindrops drumming on her umbrella. And when the rain shower is over, the gentle watercolors show her gleefully splashing in puddles and enjoying the sunshine.
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