Blue on Blue is a poetic meditation on nature and the weather written by Dianne White and illustrated by Caldecott winner Beth Krommes that is an absolute joy to read. Having read picture books out for more than twenty years professionally and parentally, I have come to have very high standards for rhyming picture books. My year as an assistant to a literary agent cemented my belief that most people think that writing a picture book is easy, and that writing a rhyming picture book is even easier. Based on the hundreds of queries I read, along with all the published picture books, writing a GOOD picture book, especially a GOOD rhyming picture book is anything but easy. However, it is writers like White who fool every other wannabe-kid's-book author into thinking this is an easy endeavor. Blue on Blue is effortlessly fluid and simply beautiful. Blue on Blue also feels a bit like a nursery rhyme, which makes sense after reading White's about page on her website where she points to a week spent in bed with her siblings as they suffered through mumps and listened to Mother Goose poems "incessantly." Be sure to visit this page and click on "Mother Goose" for a real treat - a twenty-five minute long video of the actual record playing! Not only will (most) kids be amazed by the almost-antiqueness of the record player, but they will be treated to Sterling Holloway, character actor and voice of Disney's Winnie-the-Pooh, among others!
White takes readers through a rainy day that starts and ends on a small farm with mostly clear skies. Krommes's illustrations start off crisp and clean, perfectly matched with the text that reads, "Cotton clouds. Morning light. Blue on blue. White on white." Author and illustrator take readers through the building storm, "Clouds swell. Winds blow bolder. Weather changes. Air grows colder," then into the center of the storm. The storm is "Streaming, gushing. Racing, rushing. Rain on rain on rain. Pounding, hounding, noisy-sounding. Dripping, dropping, never stopping. Never stopping. Dripping dropping." White repeats lines, sometimes changing the order of words, to great effect, echoing the sound of the raindrops on the roof.
"Slowly . . . slowly . . ." the storm fades out and life returns, inside and out. Rain boots and umbrellas come out and it's time to explore - especially the mud puddles! The gleeful romping of the little girl and her dogs ends with baths for all as the moon rises and the final pages end magnificently with these words, "Golden glow. Glitter stars, twinkling light. Black on gold . . . on silver night."
Also illustrated by Beth Krommes:
The House at Night by Susan Marie Swanson
Swirl by Swirl by the equally poetic Joyce Sidman
Other great picture books about rain and thunderstorms:
Don't miss Arthur Geisert's equally meditative, wordless picture book, Thunderstorm. Also wordless, is Rainstorm by the magnificent Barbara Lehman. And, one last superb rainy-day-picture book is The Rain Came Down by David Shannon.
Source: Review Copy