What happens after it rains? Karen Calloway answers that question, as seen through the eyes of a young girl, in her lovely picture book After the Rain.
Bridie, a bespectacled girl in rain boots, goes outside after the rain stops. As she plays with her yellow ball, it gets stuck in a tree, falls into a pond, and rolls into a rock garden, and along the way, Bridie meets a robin, minnows, and many other creatures. She brings them the news that the rain has ended, and when her play is over, she returns to tell her Nana all about her adventures.
Calloway has taught elementary school and worked in reading intervention, and her expertise shows: For early readers, her narrative strikes a nice balance, offering a limited number of words per page, while still providing some words that might prove challenging (but readable) for youngsters. Very young children will enjoy listening to adults read the story; the simple tale depends on creating its own music with its soft, gentle rhythms, and in this it largely succeeds. When Bridie meets the robin, for example, the bird calls “Twa-yip, twa-yip.” Later, crickets go “click-ee-clack, click-ee-clack,” and Bridie responds, “I hear you, crickets.”
After the Rain embraces nature and imagination, and as such, it seems timeless — as if it could have been written today, or 50 years in the past.
Illustrations are a big part of After the Rain, and the book’s large format gives illustrator Luanne Wrenn’s wide palette of colors the space they deserve. While the writing and illustrations don’t quite measure up to the level of the very best of children’s literature, After the Rain is a charming picture book, perfect to read indoors on a rainy day, while anticipating what comes after.