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by Uma Krishnaswami, Jamel Akib, James Akib

Get out your umbrellas!

Children play, birds call, and grownups go about their business during the hot days of summer in northern India. But in the bustle of street and marketplace, everyone is watching, waiting for those magical clouds to bring their gift of rain to the land. Through the observations of one young girl, the scents and sounds, the dazzling


Get out your umbrellas!

Children play, birds call, and grownups go about their business during the hot days of summer in northern India. But in the bustle of street and marketplace, everyone is watching, waiting for those magical clouds to bring their gift of rain to the land. Through the observations of one young girl, the scents and sounds, the dazzling colors, and the breathless anticipation of a parched cityscape are vividly evoked during the final days before the welcome arrival of the monsoon.

Rhythmic prose and vivid chalk pastels flood the senses and take the reader on a tour of diverse urban India.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Richly colored illustrations and lyrical text...An expressive story about seasons, extremes, and waiting." -Kirkus Reviews

"A welcome glimpse into another culture and climate." —Booklist

Publishers Weekly

“This book is typical of works in several series for college students and educated lay readers that narrate exciting events from ancient history. L. Sergius Catilina, “Catiline,” failed as a candidate for the consulship against his political rival, the orator M. Tullius Cicero. Catiline thereupon was alleged to have conspired with disaffected peasants, ruined veterans, and ambitious young nobles to overthrow the Roman Republic in 63 BCE. This Catilinarian Conspiracy was uncovered and denounced by Cicero in his most famous orations. Levick (Oxford) concentrates on the specifics of the conspiracy known from Cicero’s orations and the moralizing monograph of Sallust, a partisan of Julius Caesar. The author sums up well the scholarly opinion on Cicero’s role, and whether Cicero exaggerated or even created the conspiracy for his own political ends. Cicero’s call for the execution of Catiline’s co-conspirators without trial forestalled a rebellion, but Cicero later paid politically for this decision. Levick offers far less analysis on how the events in 63 BCE led to the First Triumvirate, a turning point for the Republic. Her discussion on later perceptions of Catiline in the literary tradition is well done and should engage most readers. The bibliography is good. Students should read this in tandem with the works of Cicero and Sallust. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.” – K. W. Harl, Tulane University, USA, CHOICE
Children's Literature
The dust will be washed away when the yearly monsoon rains arrive, but until then, heat, wind, worry and doubt prevail. Waiting for rain and recognizing one's powerlessness against the vagaries of weather is a universal pastime, shown in this story from the perspective of a young Indian girl. "Old and young, poor and rich, all across India, we wait for rain," she narrates. Readers will relate to the children in this story, who are like children everywhere as they watch TV and play hopscotch in the alley. But the story also celebrates the characters' distinct culture, one where tea is served from open-air stalls and taxi drivers must steer clear of cows in the street. The sights, sounds and smells of anticipation are captured in a dense, earthy poetry that is anchored with clear, easily conjured images: "Hot loo the paper off billboards and shred the smiles of movie stars." Most impressive are the illustrations, almost as saturated in color and detail as an Indian city street itself. A muddy color palate beautifully reflects a landscape withering under relentless dry heat. Younger children will enjoy listening and looking at this book, but it has a subtle complexity that makes it even more appropriate for older ones. A one-page addendum at the end of the book explains both the science and the mythology of the monsoon in greater detail. 2003, Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 5 to 12.
— Diane Frook
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-An evocative portrait of the tension preceding the start of monsoon season in northern India and the sense of relief accompanying its arrival. A child awaits the rains while enduring heat that makes her feel "like a crocodile crouching snap-jawed." She observes signs of the imminent downpour in the weather conditions, her family's behavior, and activity in the community. Krishnaswami's poetic text rides faithfully on the child's sensibilities: as it begins to pour, "Umbrellas turn into walking forests. The raindrops make me laugh out loud, thudding on earth and rooftops and on my skin." Akib's impressionistic, pastel illustrations make stunning use of extreme perspectives, as his characters shift from hope for the monsoon to fear of its power to excitement as the sky opens. Full spreads capture the stillness before the cloudburst and the energy it brings. Text and illustrations depict the flavor of the city: coins tossed at the feet of a statue of Ganesh; streets crowded with taxis, motor scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians; Mummy buying food at the sidewalk marketplace. This powerful book depicts a universal occurrence, while relating the expectations, customs, and needs of a particular locale. Pair it with Catherine Stock's Gugu's House (Clarion, 2001), which is set in Zimbabwe, and Karen Hesse's Come On, Rain! (Scholastic, 1999).-Liza Graybill, Worcester Public Library, MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Richly colored illustrations and lyrical text portray a girl and her family in India waiting for the monsoon season to begin. "[G]ravelly, grainy, gritty dust" blows on the wind and won't stop until the rains come. The level of anticipation is so high that every engine rumble sounds like thunder. A koel (songbird) sings "in a voice like melting sunshine," and heat waves "dance upon rocks and shimmer over rooftops." Sometimes the viewpoint is angled upward to emphasize the sky's importance. Saturated colors fill every bit of every page (there's no white space at all), fully conveying the hot, dusty air and the sense of impatience. When the "stretching, sweeping sheet of rain" finally arrives, the girl and her brother dance joyously in the street. An expressive story about seasons, extremes, and waiting. (glossary, author's note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
9.11(w) x 10.24(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Uma Krishnaswami is the author of several books for children. She was born in New Delhi, India, and now lives in Aztec, New Mexico.

Jamel Akib grew up in Malaysia and now lives in Leigh-on-Sea, England. This is his first picture book.

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Monsoon 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
alpatel More than 1 year ago
Very well written to keep a child's attention. Gives a good picture of what india is like.