What We’re Reading Wednesdays: James and the Rain

What a fun day here at Simple Kids!  We are launching What We’re Reading Wednesdays – a weekly feature in which members of the Simple Kids community offer reviews of some of the best of children’s literature.  The series begins today with this review from Emily:

james-and-the-rainAs I was sorting and cataloging books for the list a few weeks ago, I began creating my own must-be-checked-out list.  With my background in education and childcare, I was already familiar with quite a few of the books.  I was surprised, however, with how many that were brand new to me!

The first book I want to share with you is James and the Rain written by Karla Kuskin and illustrated by Reg Cartwright.  The title and beautiful cover drew me in, and because it was available at my local library, that’s where I began.

I’m actually really sad that I didn’t know about this book until now!  I would have used it on every single rainy day when I was teaching.

The basic premise is a young boy, James, takes a walk in the rain where he meets a menagerie of animals that share their favorite thing to do in the rain.  It is a counting book as he meets one cow all the way up to ten cats, and children could practice one-to-one counting by pointing at the pictures.  Also, each page builds on the last, including all of the animals, so older children could practice counting past ten.

The text is written in a rhyming and chanting manner, making it fun to read and to listen.  In the course of my studies, we talked a lot about the importance of “word exposure” for children, and how it’s important for their vocabulary for them to hear a wide variety of words even if they don’t understand the meaning of them all.  Well, I’m going to steal Tsh’s phrase and assure you that this book is indeed “twaddle-free”! The language is rich and delightfully descriptive.  Also, the illustrations are just gorgeous.  The kind I enjoy looking at over and over again.

My favorite page is the one where James meets four birds:

“Well,” said the birds, “when it rains we soar

up to the clouds and a little bit more.

We seek and we search

soaking our skins

to try to find out where the rain begins.”

Do yourself a favor and snag this lovely book on your next library trip.  You won’t be disappointed!

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  1. I have never heard of this book. Can’t wait to make a trip to the library now!

    Stacie @ newmommyhelp.net’s last blog post..A Daily Routine For Infants & Toddlers

  2. Looks cute! I think I’ll add it to my very long list of requests from our library.

    Megan, I would love to review a book and participate in WWRW. I especially love books written for pre-teen/young adults. I have an almost-11-year old, you know:)

    Elizabeth’s last blog post..A Good Weekend

  3. I love books that are rich in description. I’ve found that kids who read rich language tend to write beautifully. As a teacher, books that model great writing are keepers 🙂

    • @turnitupmom, the first premise of teaching writing is to understand that great readers make great writers. I have never encountered an exception to this rule! I completely agree with you that exposing our children to rich, lively, interesting language from birth is so pivotal to building a foundation on which they will become effective and gifted communicators. Great insight, mama!

      Megan’s last blog post..What We’re Reading Wednesdays: James and the Rain

  4. i love What We’re Reading Wednesdays! what a great idea. this can help me stock up my “library” for Baby Girl with something besides the classics. not that there’s anything wrong with the classics, but i want to be aware of the new children’s lit, too.

    illustrations are so important, i love the look of James and the Rain.

    laura @ peacoat’s last blog post..voices carry

    • @laura, I would imagine that you will find, as I did, that many people will give you children’s lit classics as gifts. Dacey had Goodnight, Moon, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? before she ever entered the world. Now is a GREAT time to start building your “non-canonical” library.

      Megan’s last blog post..What We’re Reading Wednesdays: James and the Rain

  5. I agree, Megan! There are SO many great books waiting to be discovered. Who says the library isn’t exciting? 🙂

    Emily @ The Pilot’s Wife’s last blog post..99 Red Balloons

  6. Ohhhh! We love James and the rain. My daughter makes me read that story over and over again. She also likes City dog by Karla too. I’m looking forward to being apart of this. Can I link this to my blog?

    Rana’s last blog post..Just Us Girls!

  7. What a great review. I’ll definitely have to check out this book. I’ve found us taking a break from the library now that the weather is nice. We’ve been missing it and I think this book will be the reason we go. Thanks!

    Erin’s last blog post..Candy for Breakfast