Rainbabies

Rainbabies

5.0 4
by Laura Krauss Melmed, Jim Lamarche, Jim LaMarche
     
 

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On a moonlit night. . .

In the magic of a moonshower, a childless couple finds a dozen tiny babies in a meadow. Written in classic folktale tradition, illustrated with astonishing paintings, The Rainbabies is woven from magic and moonbeams.

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Overview

On a moonlit night. . .

In the magic of a moonshower, a childless couple finds a dozen tiny babies in a meadow. Written in classic folktale tradition, illustrated with astonishing paintings, The Rainbabies is woven from magic and moonbeams.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Extraordinarily beautiful....It just plain delights children.
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.
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.)
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
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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688151133
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/16/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
393,199
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.07(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Laura Krauss Melmed is author of Capital! Washington D.C. from A to Z and New York, New York! The Big Apple from A to Z, also illustrated by Frané Lessac; I Love You As Much . . . , illustrated by Henri Sorensen; and the critically acclaimed The Rainbabies, illustrated by Jim LaMarche. She lives with her husband in Washington, D.C.

Jim LaMarche wrote and illustrated The Raft. He also illustrated Little Oh and The Rainbabies, both by Laura Krauss Melmed. He lives in Santa Cruz, California. In His Own Words...

"It's funny how things turn out. I wasn't one of those kids with a clear vision of the future, the ones who know at age five that they will be writers or doctors or artists. I liked to draw, but then, so did most of the kids I knew, and growing up to be an artist never really occurred to me. What I did want to be, in order of preference, was a magician, Davy Crockett, a doctor, a priest (until I found out they couldn't get married), and a downhill ski racer.

"But I always loved to make things, and once I got going on a project I loved, I stuck with it. Once, when I was five or six, I cut a thousand cloth feathers out of an old sheet, which I then attempted to glue to my bony little body. I was sure I could have flown off the back porch if I'd just had a better glue. Another time I dug up some smooth blue-gray clay from the field behind our house, then molded it into an entire zoo, dried the animals in the sun, and painted them as realistically as I could. I made a grotto out of cement, a shoe box, and my fossil collection. I made moccasins out of an old deerhide I found in the basement.

"I grew up in the little Wisconsin town of Kewaskum, the soul of which was the Milwaukee River. In the summer we rafted on it and swam in it. In the winter we skated on it, sometimes traveling miles upriver. In the spring and fall my dad took us on long canoe trips, silently sneaking up on deer, heron, and fields of a thousand Canada geese. And almost all year long we fished for bullheads and northerns from the dam.

"I began college at the University of Wisconsin as a biology major, but somewhere along the line—I'm not sure when or even why—I switched to art, and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in art. I still had no idea of becoming a professional artist, however. In the meantime, I joined VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and moved to Bismarck, North Dakota, to work with United Tribes of North Dakota creating school curriculum materials. It was a great job. Because there were only a few of us, I was able to try my hand at a little of everything: writing, graphic design, photography, and illustration. It was then that I slowly realized that it might be possible for me to make a living at art. I moved to California, and in the evenings-after working all day as a carpenter's assistant—I put together a portfolio.

"Twenty years later, I'm still here, living in Santa Cruz with my wife, Toni, and our three sons, Mario, Jean-Paul, and Dominic. The Pacific Ocean is only a few blocks away, and the scenery is very different from that of the Midwest, but somehow Kewaskum and the Milwaukee River show up in almost everything I draw. They provided the details of setting for The Rainbabies, Carousel, and Grandmother's Pigeon, and they are the setting for the book I'm working on now, my own story about the magic of a raft.

"I feel very lucky to have ended up as an illustrator of children's books. And maybe that isn't so different from my childhood dream of being a magician after all. Starting with a clean sheet of paper and with nothing up my sleeves, I get to create something that was never there before."

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