Lila and the Secret of Rain

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Overview

For months the sun has burned down on Lila's Kenyan village. It is too hot to gather firewood, too hot to weed the garden, even too hot to milk the cow. Without rain the well will run dry and the crops will fail. Lila is so worried that when her grandfather whispers to her the secret of rain, she decides to go and talk to the sky herself. How Lila saves the village by telling the sky the saddest thing she knows is told in David Conway's elegant and spare prose style, which is complemented perfectly by Jude Daly's...

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Overview

For months the sun has burned down on Lila's Kenyan village. It is too hot to gather firewood, too hot to weed the garden, even too hot to milk the cow. Without rain the well will run dry and the crops will fail. Lila is so worried that when her grandfather whispers to her the secret of rain, she decides to go and talk to the sky herself. How Lila saves the village by telling the sky the saddest thing she knows is told in David Conway's elegant and spare prose style, which is complemented perfectly by Jude Daly's beautiful and poignant illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3- For weeks the burning sun has been beating down on a small village in Kenya. No one is gathering firewood and no one is milking the cows. The water well has dried up and the crops are perishing. One evening, Lila overhears her grandfather tell a story about a man who climbed to the top of a mountain and told the sky the saddest things he could think of. The sky began to cry and the much-needed rain fell. The next morning, she sets out to find a mountain and talk to the sky. The rain starts falling soon after she pours her heart out, and "each raindrop felt like one of her mama's kisses." Lila and her grandfather keep the secret of how it came to rain to themselves. This quiet story offers inspiration and hope. Readers will sigh with relief to see the rain and will cheer with the villagers as they celebrate. The illustrations are quite lovely. A huge orange sun in a brilliant blue sky dominates most pages. The prominence of the brown baked earth intensifies the unwanted result of the lack of rain. Villagers and animals alike are stick thin. This story will work well both as a read-aloud and for sharing one-on-one.-Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN

Kirkus Reviews
For weeks, the sun has beaten down on Lila's Kenyan village. To survive, all the people need is rain. One day, Lila's grandfather tells her an old story about a man who knew how to call the rain: "You must climb the highest mountain and tell the sky the saddest thing you know." The following morning, Lila sets out for the mountaintop, where she describes the saddest things she can, until finally she cries out that she doesn't know what to do. The well is dry, and how can the village live without water? The sky rumbles, and Lila runs home to find her village celebrating the falling rain. Daly's fine, precise acrylics present readers with an implacable yellow sun lowering over a sere landscape; Lila's slim, stylized form conveys a wealth of emotion. An author's note on the culture and on drought would have added considerably, but still, this is a beautifully illustrated tale that will easily serve as an introduction to the importance of water and a catalyst for discussion of water shortages in Africa. (Picture book. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845074074
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 10.89 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Louise Conway worked as a librarian for 10 years before pursuing her passion for children's illustration. She holds a BA in Graphic Design and has drawn ever since she was a child. She currently lives in Herefordshire, England.

Niki Daly has won many awards for his work. His groundbreaking Not So fast Songololo, winner of a U.S Parent's Choice Award, paved the way for post-apartheid South African children's books. Since then, he has been widely published and has spoken in several countries. Among his many books, Once Upon a Time was an Honor Winner in the U.S. Children's Africana Book Awards, and Jamela's Dress was chosen by the ALA as a Notable Children's Book and by Booklist as one of the Top Ten African American Picture Books of 2000. Both live in Cape Town, South Africa.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2010

    Winner- Peter Pan Silver Star Winner- Parents' Choice Gold Award

    "The carefully shaped text-folkloric in its minimalism-is as spare as the landscape itself and every bit as beautiful."- Parents' Choice Foundation "This is a remarkably beautiful picture story book. The quietly poetic nature of the prose is magically enhanced by the brilliantly atmospheric and quietly moving illustrations. As with all the best of books for young children, it has the power to speak loudly to readers right across the human age range." - School Librarian "Crisp, fluent prose and spare expressive illustrations combine to create powerful images of a sun-blasted landscape in theis eloquent and ultimately celebratory fable about the vital relationship between human beings and nature." - Carousel "A beautifully written story that is poetic and descriptive. Lila and the Secret of Rain is a wonderfully simple and realistic way of conveying to children how water is as vital to our lives as it is to a Kenyan village, where water is life."- INIS "Set in Kenya with beautiful illustrations that have a sparse, descriptive elegance and a text that is simple and lyrical." - CMIS "Using magic rooted in realism, the author tells the poignant story of one child who saves her world."- Booklist "In its elegantly understated way, this book gets to the heart of the ongoing struggle of man against nature, and the power of one child's belief that she can make a difference."- Shelf Awareness "...this is a beautifully illustrated tale that will easily serve as an introduction to the importance of water and a catalyst for discussion of water shortages in Africa."-Kirkus Reviews "Each word in this story is thoughtfully placed in terms of rhythm, and the lyrical quality of his words is perfectly matched by illustrator Jude Daly...It is an elegant and touching book that can be read over and over again."- Suite101 "Gentle, yet powerfully, moving."-Bookchat South African Children's Books "These simple, colorful illustrations catch the eye. The huge sun and desolate desert make it so you can 'feel' the heat as you're reading the story."- [Book of the Month] MetroWest Newspapers "With its vivid text and lovely illustrations, Lila and the Secret of Rain tells a powerful story about the value of water and the indispensable role that it plays in sustaining our livelihoods. Teachers and parents will appreciate this book as a helpful tool for teaching children about natural resources in an African context."- Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children "Lila and the Secret of Rain", "Mama Panya's Pancakes" are two of the most inspiring and beautiful children's book in our library. I can't help but cry when I tell adults the story of Lila and I am always encouraged (especially in these times) to be generous when I think about the beautiful message of this fine and beautifully illustrated young people's story. These two are current favorites but will always stay in my heart and I am sure in the heart of my daughter (5 yr. old) who loves them.but not quite as much as I do at this point. They are iconic and deep and profound truths told in a sweet and lovely way with artful illustrations.- John Coy New Yorker Blog

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2010

    Winner- Peter Pan Silver Star Winner- Parents' Choice Gold Award

    "The carefully shaped text-folkloric in its minimalism-is as spare as the landscape itself and every bit as beautiful."- Parents' Choice Foundation "This is a remarkably beautiful picture story book. The quietly poetic nature of the prose is magically enhanced by the brilliantly atmospheric and quietly moving illustrations. As with all the best of books for young children, it has the power to speak loudly to readers right across the human age range." - School Librarian "Crisp, fluent prose and spare expressive illustrations combine to create powerful images of a sun-blasted landscape in theis eloquent and ultimately celebratory fable about the vital relationship between human beings and nature." - Carousel "A beautifully written story that is poetic and descriptive. Lila and the Secret of Rain is a wonderfully simple and realistic way of conveying to children how water is as vital to our lives as it is to a Kenyan village, where water is life."- INIS "Set in Kenya with beautiful illustrations that have a sparse, descriptive elegance and a text that is simple and lyrical." - CMIS "Using magic rooted in realism, the author tells the poignant story of one child who saves her world."- Booklist "...Jude Daly's evocative illustrations give a real feel for the unrelenting African sun."-Book of the Month LCC "In its elegantly understated way, this book gets to the heart of the ongoing struggle of man against nature, and the power of one child's belief that she can make a difference."- Shelf Awareness "...this is a beautifully illustrated tale that will easily serve as an introduction to the importance of water and a catalyst for discussion of water shortages in Africa."-Kirkus Reviews "This is a beautifully illustrated and simple book."- Writeaway "Each word in this story is thoughtfully placed in terms of rhythm, and the lyrical quality of his words is perfectly matched by illustrator Jude Daly...It is an elegant and touching book that can be read over and over again."- Suite101 "Gentle, yet powerfully, moving."-Bookchat South African Children's Books "With its vivid text and lovely illustrations, Lila and the Secret of Rain tells a powerful story about the value of water and the indispensable role that it plays in sustaining our livelihoods. Teachers and parents will appreciate this book as a helpful tool for teaching children about natural resources in an African context."- Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children "Lila and the Secret of Rain", "Mama Panya's Pancakes" are two of the most inspiring and beautiful children's book in our library. I can't help but cry when I tell adults the story of Lila and I am always encouraged (especially in these times) to be generous when I think about the beautiful message of this fine and beautifully illustrated young people's story. These two are current favorites but will always stay in my heart and I am sure in the heart of my daughter (5 yr. old) who loves them.but not quite as much as I do at this point. They are iconic and deep and profound truths told in a sweet and lovely way with artful illustrations.- John Coy New Yorker Blog

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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