Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse recreates the body and soul-renewing experience of a summer downpour after a sweltering city heat wave."Come on, rain!" Tess pleads to the sky as listless vines and parched plants droop in the endless heat. Up and down the block, cats pant while heat wavers off tar patches in the broiling alleyway. More than anything, Tess hopes for rain. And when it comes, she and her friends are ready for a surprising and joyous celebration....Through exquisite language and acute observation, Newberry medalist Karen Hesse recreates the glorious experience of a quenching rainstorm on a sweltering summer day. Jon J Muth's masterful and lyrical watercolors perfectly reflect the spirit of the text.
"Up and down the block,/ cats pant,/ heat wavers off tar patches in the broiling alleyway./ Miz Grace and Miz Vera bend, tending beds of drooping lupines," as a whole neighborhood waits for rain. The narrator, Tessie, is the first one to see the "clouds rolling in,/ gray clouds, bunched and bulging under a purple sky," and she engineers a joyful rain dance with her three friends, Jackie-Joyce, Liz and Rosemary. The long-sought rain "freckles our feet, glazes our toes./ We turn in circles,/ glistening in our rain skin." According to Hesse's bio on the jacket flap, this text contains her initial exploration of motifs used first in her Newbery Medal-winning novel, Out of the Dust. With poetic and immediate language, she again captures the cleansing experience of rainfall after a long dry spell. In an auspicious debut, Muth's illustrations showcase an impressive range of perspectives, from the opening urban skyline to the subtle indication of the oncoming storm in the ruffling of a curtain to the girls' view looking up at their mothers from where they're dancing in the street. His inventive design sense and use of watercolors--smudges of shadow, glistening sidewalks and foggy city-scapes--are remarkable. This is an impressive tribute to those experiences that leave us "purely soothed,/ fresh as dew,/ turning toward the first sweet rays of the sun." Ages 4-8.