PreS-Gr 1 Jack Appleknocker is a simple man who lives a simple life in his forest cabin. He lies on his cornhusk mattress staring at the ``stain made by the rain'' and waiting for the stain's supposedly changing shapes to inspire the day's activities. On Monday the stain reminds him of a griddle so he makes pancakes, on Tuesday it looks like a bunch of grapes so he makes jelly, and so on until he's harvested potatoes and apples and rescued a lamb lost in a storm. On Sunday the stain seems to be a smiling sun telling him that he's earned a day of rest. The bright, bold wet watercolor and collage illustrations are a visual delight, portraying both the simplicity and vitality of rural life. Unfortunately, the story's premise and execution aren't as successful. Children may be confused by Jack's very different perceptions of the same stain, since unlike clouds, stains aren't constantly changing. However, the book's greatest flaw is the awkward narrative. The poem-like prose is uneven and sprinkled with inconsistent, often forced, rhyme. It's a shame that such vibrant, fresh illustrations were matched with such an uninspired text. Heide Piehler, Shorewood Pub . Lib . , Wis.