New York Times Book Review
Extraordinarily beautiful....It just plain delights children.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At a time when many supposedly new titles turn out to be retellings of familiar fairy tales, it's invigorating to find real creativity at work. In a stunning debut, Melmed combines standard fairy tale devices (a wish granted by magic; a series of trials to prove worthiness; virtue rewarded, etc.) in a wholly original story featuring the most fetching cast of little ones since the Dionne quintuplets. Melmed's writing is flawless, her storyline clean and unaffected: a childless couple finds a dozen tiny rainbabies in the grass after a moonshower, takes them home and tenderly cares for them until the babies' real mother arrives to claim her offspring and reward the devoted husband and wife. LaMarche's (Mandy) paintings are equally masterful. Whether portraying the couple's delight with their unexpected charges, or pecking in at the row of sleeping wee ones nestled snugly in a drawer, the artist's transcendent watercolors glow with a warm inner light that comes as much from the heart as from the brush. A winner in every respect, this genuinely touching book is guaranteed to become a favorite. Ages 6-up. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
A childless couple finds a dozen tiny rainbabies and cares for them until their real mother arrives to claim her offspring. Calling the writing "flawless" and the paintings "equally masterful" in a starred review, PW said, "This genuinely touching book is a winner in every respect." Ages 3-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Rhythmical and vivid, Melmed's language calls to mind the classic fairy tales, which she says she loved as a kid. In this story, an elderly couple's yearning for a child is fulfilled when twelve tiny babies appear after a moonlit rain.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-- Touched by the good fortune of a moonshower, a childless old couple finds a dozen tiny babies in the grass outside their small house. They take the infants into their home, lovingly care for them, protect them from ``. . . dangers born of water, fire, and earth,'' and refuse to trade them for a valuable jewel. For this they are rewarded, by Mother Moonshower herself, with a real baby girl in exchange for the tiny rainbabies. The story, written in a pleasing folktale style, is not nearly as exciting as LaMarche's large, handsome illustrations. Painted in rich, muted tones that exude feelings of warmth and love, the textured pictures resemble pastel drawings. Portraits of the couple (who actually appear to be upper-middle aged) expose their characters in a style that is reminiscent of Norman Rockwell's. Alas, neither the pleasant writing style nor the beauty of the illustrations can compensate for the story's weak plot. The book is auditorily and visually pleasing, but lacks depth and purpose. --Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
An elderly couple long for a child, and one day, in a magical moonshower, they find 12 tiny infants, no bigger than drops of water, lying nestled in the grass. Joyously, the couple care for the children and protect them when they are threatened by a powerful wave, a ring of fire, and a weasel. Then a messenger appears, representing a rich and powerful woman who wants the babies in exchange for a precious moonstone worth many sacks of gold. When the couple refuse, the messenger is transformed into Mother Moonshower, the one who had given the rainbabies to the couple's care. "What loyal and loving caretakers you have been!" she tells them, though she insists she must take the rainbabies with her. In their stead, she leaves them a beautiful baby daughter, who becomes the delight and comfort of their lives. The powerful story, which will reach into the hearts of listeners young and old, is matched by LaMarche's moving artwork. Most striking perhaps are the jacket illustrations--on the front, a close-up of the mother adoringly watching her little rainbabies; on the back, the father, his eyes alight with wonder, observing them as they play. Inside, the drama is played out through action-filled spreads, but LaMarche is always careful to focus on the couples' changing moods as they contemplate their glorious gifts and try to protect them.