by Emily Martin, Mara Shaughnessy

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Downpour is the enchanting story of a rainy day turned magical.  

A rainy day is usually the time to clomp around in rubber boots and discover worms and puddles and other such rainy day things. But this is no ordinary rainy day.  Embark on a journey of discovery as the rain begins to wash away the color from the bright red poppies in a

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Downpour is the enchanting story of a rainy day turned magical.  

A rainy day is usually the time to clomp around in rubber boots and discover worms and puddles and other such rainy day things. But this is no ordinary rainy day.  Embark on a journey of discovery as the rain begins to wash away the color from the bright red poppies in a field.  Follow the color red on its journey, page after page, as it infuses myriad quirky and everyday objects with its bright cheerful hue: from the beaks of curious birds to the big wheel at the faraway fair.  

In a fresh, poetic style, with bright splashes of color on each page, this high contrast book will allow young readers to learn about color and build their vocabulary while stimulating their senses.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Martin debuts with a drifting, picture book–length poem that imagines the unusual aftereffects of a rainstorm: “It rained for days until poppies ran./ Their red first ran down stem and leaves./ Then, red, the roots,/ Red, the ground,/ Red, the stones sitting around.” In loose-lined ink illustrations against a watery gray backdrop, Shaughnessy (LEGO Man in Space) draws birds with beaks dipped in red, foxes dashing across a field on red paws, and a “sleepy black ram” whose curling horn is the same rich scarlet. All of the animals and humans, including a comely young woman with windswept locks that appears to be the narrator (“Red, the leaves that flutter around./ Red, the schoolbag on my back”), are drawn naturalistically. The sole exception is a recurring hedgehog character, whose cartoon rendering and whimsical actions (stomping around in rain boots, creating a chain of paper butterflies) are somewhat at odds with the contemplative tone of the verse. Still, there’s a certain thrill to be had from seeing red in unexpected contexts, whether on a mailbox, dirt road, or school bus. Ages 3–6. (June)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A hedgehog covers his head with a newspaper as it rains. It has rained for so many days that the red is running out of the poppies onto the ground and even the grass. On the double pages, the red stands out against the illustrations in black outline and shades of gray. It touches the beaks and bodies of birds that are joined on their branch by the news-reading hedgehog. The red continues across the pages onto the road, and a toad. Occasional rhymes are included in the poetic text as the hedgehog goes on his way and the red flows on to foxes' toes, the hearts of bees, a ram's horns, a happy old man's beard, and even the hedgehog's fur. On it goes to fluttering leaves, fish, even to the hedgehog's snores. At the end, the hedgehog is painting red again the "poor poppies now turned white." The line drawings depict naturalistic scenes with comic actions like the hedgehog scrubbing his red "prickly hair" in an old-fashioned bathtub, or sitting on a log knitting. The story is unusual, magical, and appealingly illustrated. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-K—The red from a field of poppies washes over the world after a long rainstorm. Hedgehog follows the path of crimson as it makes its mark on everything, from fox feet and a man's beard to fish scales and river light. Bleached of their color, the flowers are restored to their original shade with a can of paint by the enterprising Hedgehog. This salute to red has a few misses, as when the thorns mentioned are barely visible. However, Shaughnessy's line drawings are dynamic, with spots of scarlet as embellishment. The animal's personality charms from the first spread, as it uses a newspaper to avoid rain while wearing red rain boots. Hedgehog also mails a love letter, knits directly from a ram's coat, and cuts out a paper butterfly banner. Martin's rhythmic text and use of repetition and alliteration, coupled with graceful scenes of nature celebrating the day's downpour, make a soothing read aloud.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
Kirkus Reviews
A repeated spell-check fail and, more seriously, a discomfiting color choice make this visionary lyric a washout. Bearing in two interior illustrations and on the rear cover a newspaper with the malaprop headline "Downpour leeches [sic] red," a hedgehog splashes its way through a rain shower. He drops a sweet love note into the mailbox and then returns home for a cozy nap. Meanwhile, the rain has washed the color out of all the poppies, staining everything red, from a frog to the mailbox, the hedgehog and even the hair of a girl's head and an old man's beard. Martin's incantatory free-verse text will raise disturbing associations even in readers who aren't familiar with Peter Gabriel's song "Red Rain," the war poem "In Flanders Fields," or mentions of rains and rivers of blood in Homer, the Book of Exodus and throughout literature. "Then, red, the roots, / Red, the ground, / Red, the stones sitting around. / Red, the grass underfoot. // Red, the beaks of curious birds. / Red, the field where sit the poppies." Moreover, to sparely drawn illustrations done in thin gray wash and fine ink lines, Shaughnessy adds brushed swabs of a single shade of bright, fire engine red that looks artificial on her human figures and turns the feet, beaks and bodies of animals into bloody highlights. The hedgehog is last seen repainting the poppies, but that's too little, too late. A pale, poorly conceived rumination on color; choose instead Laura Vaccaro Seeger's Green (2012) or Joyce Sidman's Red Sings from Treetops (2009), illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. (Picture book. 6-8)

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Product Details

Sky Pony Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Martin was born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland. She received her BA and MFA
from Columbia University. Splitting her time between writing, translating, and teaching, she lives outside of Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and their numerous pets.

Shaughnessy is an illustrator and graphic designer with an MA in Teaching. She is the author and illustrator of Lego Man in Space. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

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