Monday, June 8, 2015

Outstanding in the Rain

Booklist starred March 1, 2015 (Vol. 111, No. 13)
Preschool-Grade 2. Creator Viva hints on the cover that this is not your ordinary picture book by segmenting the first word of the title into two parts via color: out in gold, and standing in turquoise. And to reiterate, the subtitle states that this is “a whole story with holes.” Inside, using highly graphic art and a limited palette (predominantly turquoise and brown, complemented by variations of yellow and orange), Viva takes readers on a wild trip to an amusement park with the city skyline behind. The composition is often busy, with action that keeps eyes moving across the two-page spreads (fireworks in the night sky, a train roaring off, the rain hitting close). The rhyming text has an additional surprise: wordplay linked to holes on the page that relate to the action. For instance, the hole that encircles the cream in the word ice cream encircles the narrator’s big teeth on the next page as he screams over the loss of his treat. And these holes also accentuate the use of oronyms, words or phrases that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings (ice cream and I scream). The excitement of the story is enhanced by changing perspectives; sometimes the illustrations are close-ups, and other times they are broad abstracts (e.g., landscapes with just enough recognizable shapes to keep a sense of reality). All is neatly concluded with end pages that head back home, where the night rain will fall on the night train. A must have because of the originality of the concept, the unusual palette, and the thrill of the reading experience.

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