It is time to plant the rice crop in Malini’s Sri Lankan community, and the little girl is both excited and nervous to help for the first time. What if she does it wrong? Will she be responsible if the crop fails? When the oxcart rumbles in loaded with seedlings, she reluctantly agrees to watch the big, imposing animal while the driver takes a break. Suddenly, the skies go dark with monsoon rain. A flash flood pours down the road, separating Malini from the driver and her family. They are shouting for her to run for higher ground, but what about the rice? Summoning up courage she never dreamed she possessed, Malini resolves to save ox, cart, and seedlings, no matter what it takes. Award-winning author Alma Fullerton tells Malini’s story in expressive free verse that vibrates with emotion and energy. The moods of Sri Lanka’s rainy season come alive as Kim La Fave, illustrator of the award-winning Shin Chi’s Canoe, uses a fresh style that is both contemporary and impressionistic to depict the courage of one little girl facing the power of a flash flood.
...Fullerton introduces children to a culture different from their own in a way that is engaging and full of relatable emotions....LaFave demonstrates a mastery of colour, choosing a rich palate of purples and blues to depict the storm and creating depth with interesting colour blocking...the images are unique and beautiful.
Large-scale illustrations highlight the sudden change from sunshine to rain, with first vertical and then diagonal streaks through the colors demonstrating the rain’s ferocity. Malini's anxiety about helping with the planting and the sense of accomplishment she feels in saving the rice come through clearly in her facial expressions.
It’s a gratifying portrait of a child discovering her own strength: Malini, so nervous about learning to plant rice, is capable of far greater feats.
This moving story of courage from award-winning author Alma Fullerton is told in lyrical free-verse and the sounds of the impending storm and Malini's narrow escape with the rice cart come alive through onomatopoeic description. Kim La Fave's dream-like illustrations imbue Sri Lankan life with a sense of magic....An inspiring story beautifully told, When the Rain Comes would be an enriching addition to most school library collections.
This is a great book to have in a library that fosters multi-culturalism. The story is engaging and children will learn about the culture of Sri Lanka through this book.
[Alma Fullerton] successfully conjures up the sights and especially the sounds of a day in Sri Lanka...[Kim La Fave] convincingly whips up the wind and slashes rain across the page to convey the frightening immediacy of a flash flood. Young readers will identify with Malini's trepidation in facing her new task, and they will cheer for her as she overcomes her own fear to save the day. When the Rain Comes is an engaging story in its own right but could also be used in a classroom setting to spark interest in Sri Lanka, its people, culture, geography, and climate.
A fascinating slice of Southeast Asian life, the tempo and suspense build as the winds and rain whoosh and boom, crack and howl.
It’s a great way to introduce one of the many Asian cultures to our children so as to build in them respect and admiration for other nationalities and ways of life. I don’t think my son has ever seen an ox before....This opened up a conversation about ox and how prevalent they are in some countries for agriculture. So although fiction, this book can be used as an educational tool as well. An excellent addition to any home and school library.
Kim LaFave masterfully captures every nuance of the story through use of color and motion. They fully support the mood created by Ms. Fullerton’s telling free verse text.
...Alma Fullerton’s rhythmic lines and sound scape of life and weather...carr[y] the story, along with Kim La Fave’s stirring illustrations. From the brightly-coloured warmth of Malini’s home life to the tumultuous gloominess of the storm of flashing water, wind and sound, Kim La Fave contrasts the two realities, echoing Alma Fullerton’s cheerful and fearful situations....When the Rain Comes is a resoundingly effective addition to our diverse young CanLit collections...
My heart started racing and I could feel Malini, and the ox’s, anxiety rise and settle down. A beautiful book.
The illustrations and text in this book work really well together to highlight Malini's feelings and show the importance of rice to her village and the dangers of a monsoon. The back of the book tells a little bit more about Sri Lanka and how reliant the country's population is on rice.
Fullerton's free verse dances across the page, urging readers forward through the narrative...And LaFave's mood-appropriate colors, which range from the joyful sorbet hues of Malini's village to the brooding blues and grays of the monsoon, complete the package. A beautiful introduction to life and culture on a little-known island nation—and a delightful read whether for the first or the 100th time.