Home in the Rain
Walker Books, 2016
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
It is time for Mum and Francie to head home from Grandma’s. Despite the fact that it is bucketing down rain and the highway is crowded with buses, oil tankers, trucks and other cars they feel safe and secure in their little red car – as safe and secure as the baby tucked away in mum’s womb.
As the rain continues to tumble soaking everything in its path – good for the mouse obscured from the kestrel’s view but not so good for Marcus out fishing with his dad with the water dribbling down his neck- Mum pulls into the picnic spot to have the lunch Grandma has prepared. As they sit their breaths fog up the window, and, cloistered in this intimate environment, like all children, Francie cannot resist writing her name on the window. After she writes her own, she writes Mum and Daddy but there is a window left, waiting for the name of the new sister due soon. But what will it be?
With his gentle, detailed, watercolour-wash illustrations and carefully chosen text, once again Bob Graham has taken the most ordinary of situations and crafted a touching, memorable story that brings beauty to the mundane, something from very little. The climax of the story where Mum chooses the baby’s name comes in a dirty, busy petrol station – the antithesis of where such a memorable moment is likely to occur, although Graham finds the beauty as Francie splashes in the rainbows of the oil-water puddles.
Our names are our most personal possession and children are always curious to find out why their parents chose the names they did so this is the perfect opportunity for them to investigate how they came to be called what they are. It is also an opportunity to compare the various reasons as well as investigate popular names, collect data and share what they learn.
At the same time there is much to talk about being caught in the rain. where the rain comes from, how it makes you feel and why windows clog up. Further afield, they can look to the impact of the rain on the landscape – why has Graham introduced the rabbit, the mouse, the kestrel, the ducks, the fishermen, Marcus, even the two men who have had a bingle in the car?
As is typical in his books, Graham has included so much with more to be discovered and considered each time it is shared. Shortlisted for the 2017 CBCA Picture Book of the Year award, this is one that will be hard to beat.