HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Author and Illustrator: Manya Stojic
Publisher: Dragonfly Books, reprinted in 2009
ISBN-13: 978-0517800850 (hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0517800853 (hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0385737296 (paperback)
ISBN-10: 0385737297 (paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Stojic, Manya. Rain (published in 2000 by Crown Books for Young Readers; republished in 2009 by Dragonfly Books). The red soil of the hot African savanna is parched and cracked. When rain is coming, the different animals use all their senses to track the storm. The porcupine smells rain in the air. She tells the zebras who see lightning and gallop off to tell the baboons. They hear thunder. The rhino feels the first drops. And the lion tastes the cool water. After the sky opens and it rains and rains and rains until every river gushes and gurgles, for a time the grassland abounds with new green buds, grass sprouts, juicy fruits, and fresh pools of water. The animals find shelter in the shade of the big leaves, play in the cool, squelchy mud, and relish long, refreshing drinks from the water hole. However the hot sun soon dries out the land, and before long the animals must again wait for the next big rain.
We checked this book out of the library to accompany our boys’ science studies. Our older son Mark, who was about eleven or twelve, read it to our younger son Jeremy, who was about six or seven. However, children who read it will learn not only about rain but also about Africa, savanna animals and plants, and the five senses. It is also great for helping youngsters build their vocabulary, with sentences such as “A porcupine sniffed around” containing verbs that are easy for children to act out, and a good variety of descriptive adjectives like “cool, soft, squelchy mud.” And it is useful for teaching opposites, such as dry/wet, empty/full. The serviceable text, with its simple text in large fonts and bold letters, rolls off the tongue with pleasure. The stunning illustrations, saturated with lush golds, fiery red-oranges, cool, wet blues, and brilliant greens for the background, along with soft grays, blacks, and browns for the savanna creatures, are full-bleed, double-page spreads and seem to come alive before the reader. Manya Stojic has also written and illustrated Snow.