I might have gone a little overboard at the library while I was looking for go-alongs for Storm in the Night; I checked out more books about rain, storms, lightning, etc., than we could possibly read. It turned out that the girls enjoyed the story books much more than the nonfiction selections we read, but of course, each type of book serves a purpose in learning. I decided to split the books into two posts so that it’s not too long and tedious. However, I am just sharing the best of what we read. One day I’ll learn moderation in my real life, not just in blogging.
Hands down, the book my girls loved the most that we read alongside Storm in the Night was Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. Have I highlighted Patricia Palacco here at Hope Is the Word? No? Well, that must be remedied, and soon. Until then, I will just mention this gem of a book. My girls first experienced Thunder Cake with their nana, so that makes it doubly special to them. This book makes the perfect go-along for Storm in the Night because it is the story of a girl and her grandmother who weather a storm together. The grandmother and her granddaughter work on making a special cake, Thunder Cake, which can only be made during a thunderstorm. They gather the ingredients (fresh, as they live on a farm), and the girl shows courage in robbing Nellie Peck Hen of her eggs and old Kick Cow of her milk. This display is not lost on Grandma, of course, and she finally points out the girl’s bravery to her in the face of the impending storm. This story, like many of Polacco’s, is told as an autobiographical sketch from her own life in Michigan with her Russian-immigrant babushka. Her illustrations are bright, colorful, and very easy to recognize once you see her style. This one is Highly Recommended for sure!
The Rain by Michael Laser is one of those books that surprised us. I expected it to merely be a few observations about the rain, but it’s more than that–it’s a story that starts out in very disparate places and ends with a few shared experiences. A young man, an older man, a woman, and two children all experience a warm-weather shower, and they all enjoy it in their own ways. I particularly love that the rain motivates the woman, a busy teacher, to pull out her old watercolors and paint a picture of “the yellow house across the street [that] looked so pretty, with the wet flowers in front and the rain bouncing off the walk.” My girls love the interaction between the brother and sister who play in the rain: they tease each other and sing together, and this especially appeals to Louise, our own resident nightingale. Jeffrey Green’s illustrations are right on target–soft, muted, and blurred. We’ve returned to this one time and again, and we’ve all enjoyed it each time.
After investigating thunderstorms and a gentle rain, Hide and Seek Fog provided a little different take on precipitation. I’m really glad I came across this Caldecott Honor book. It is Alvin Tresselt’s story of a fog that overtakes a small fishing and lobstering village for three days. Tresselt very lyrically describes how the fog rolls in from the sea and creeps over the whole village, until it disrupts life completely. My favorite lines capture the spirit of the story: “Only the children liked the fog. They played hide-and-seek in and out among the gray-wrapped rocks. They spoddled in the lazy lapping waves on the beach, and they got lost–right in front of their own cottages!” Obviously, Roger Duvoisin’s illustrations really provide a peek into what a fog can do to obscure one’s vision. We really liked this one, too.
I’m sure there are other great books about weather, especially thunderstorms and rain, out there. However, we enjoyed these tremendously, and this trio seemed to be just enough, with Storm in the Night and a few nonfiction titles (which I’ll post later), to give us plenty to read, think about, and discuss.