Skip to main content

Blue on Blue by Dianne White and Beth Krommes

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


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…