Come On, Rain!

Come On, Rain!

  • Publish Date: 1999-03-01
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Karen Hesse
Scholastic Press
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"Come on, rain!" Tess pleads to the sky as listless vines and parched plants droop in the endless heat. Up and down the block, cats pant while heat wavers off tar patches in the broiling alleyway. More than anything, Tess hopes for rain. And when it comes, she and her friends are ready for a surprising joyous celebration....

Through exquisite language and acute observation, Newbery medalist Karen Hesse recreates the glorious experience of a quenching rainstorm on a sweltering summer day. Jon J Muth's masterful and lyrical watercolors perfectly reflect the spirit of the text.
In this quietly affecting story, award-winning author Karen Hesse and artist Jon J. Muth deftly capture the magnificence of a sudden rainstorm on a swelteringly hot day. Much more than a simple tale of weather, Come On, Rain! also portrays the tenderness of mother-daughter relations, the rhythms of urban society, and the power of nature to transform and reinvigorate all forms of life.

The book's collaborators, more like alchemists, work wonders. Muth's sunbaked watercolors perfectly convey the washed-out, drought-stricken world, while Hesse's gripping narrative--a detailed prose poem written in the voice of the watchful, pigtailed Tessie--conveys undaunted hope and anticipation. Like a long-limbed little bird--all twiggy arms and legs--Tessie moves through the neighborhood, observing her Mamma, her friends, the skies, even the streets:

Up and down the block,
cats pant,
heat wavers off tar patches in the broiling alleyway....

I stare out over rooftops,
past chimneys, into the way off distance.
And that's when I see it coming,
clouds rolling in,
gray clouds, bunched and bulging under a purple sky.

A creeper of hope circles round my bones.
"Come on, rain!" I whisper.

As the downpour approaches, Tessie gathers her neighborhood friends for a romp in the raindrops. Their eager anticipation is matched by a rain shower so gigantic, it even makes their mothers run into the street. It's literally the stuff that dreams are made of--my own daughter dreamed of the delicious downpour the night we first read the book. (Click to see a sample spread. Text 1999 by Karen Hesse. Illustrations 1999 by Jon J. Muth. Reproduced with permission of Scholastic, Inc.) (Ages 5 and older) --Jean Lenihan

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