Monsoon

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Overview

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 ...

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Akib, Jamel, and Akib, James New York, NY 2003 Hard cover Fair. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. Picture book. With dust jacket. 32 p. Contains: Illustrations. Intended for a ... juvenile audience. Read more Show Less

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Overview

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.

A child describes waiting for the monsoon rains to arrive and the worry that they will not come.

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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
Krishnaswami (Chachaji's Cup) offers a lyrical slice-of-life story about contemporary India on the eve of the monsoon season. Walking through crowded city streets, the girl narrator absorbs her mother's worries about the rain. "How much will it rain? How fast, how hard?" And another question hangs in her mind, much like the "cry of the crows in the old neem tree/ hangs in the dust-pink air"-what if the rains never come? The author evokes the oppressive weather in tense images: the heat makes the girl feel "like a crocodile/ crouching snap-jawed"; "hot loo winds tear through the city./ They rip the paper off billboards/ and shred the smiles of movie stars." Readers experience the sights and sounds of another culture as the girl and her brother play hopscotch to the sound of temple bells "clanging, clanging," and a taxi driver honks futilely at the tired old cow who stubbornly blocks his path in the street. Debut illustrator Akib suggests the heaviness of the air in the thick strokes and hazy palette of his stylized, almost dreamlike illustrations, capturing the bustle of the streets with slightly off-kilter perspectives. American readers will enjoy the exotic clothing and customs (when it rains, the adults offer coins to "potbellied Ganesh, god of beginnings"), all the more so because they will recognize the girl's feelings as very much like their own. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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 winds...rip 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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374350154
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 10/6/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.11 (w) x 10.24 (h) x 0.44 (d)

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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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 25, 2013

    Very well written to keep a child's attention. Gives a good pict

    Very well written to keep a child's attention. Gives a good picture of what india is like.

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