Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Rain is Here: A Book Review

“The rain is here!” my son would shout from our window as soon as he sees the dark clouds in the sky.

Then, he would ask our maid to bring in the newly-laundered clothes which are hanged in a clothes’ line at the back of our house.

“The rain is here!”

This line has become our favorite expression every time we notice that it’s about to rain. We got this from one of our favorite books THE RAIN IS HERE. This was written by Lina B. Diaz de Rivera (a retired English and Reading teacher) and illustrated by Maria Bernadette Solina-Wolf. This is one of the titles under Chikiting Books published by LG&M, the children’s book imprint of Vibal.

We found this at Vibal’s booth while we were at the Manila International Book Fair years ago and got it at a discounted price of only P56.00. You might want to check it out in the next Manila International Book Fair which will happen soon on September 17-21.

We liked it right away and it has become our favorite read during rainy days.

Since it has been raining more frequently in the past days, my kids and I brought this out once more to be one of our regular reads.

Let me enumerate the things that we like about this book.

1.    We love the book cover design. It shows different people trying to protect themselves from the getting wet while the rain pours. Most of them were holding umbrellas but there was also a boy and a man wearing a raincoat and another man using a salakot and the leaf of a local plant as raincoat. There’s also a man using a newspaper to cover his head and a woman who just finished the laundry covering her head with a basin. The kids and I found these amusing.

2.    We love the beautiful illustrations. The setting is in the province complete with a bahay kubo and local farm animals. The colors were bright making the pages look attractive. Even the pages where the rain was already pouring were illustrated brilliantly. They didn’t look gloomy. The illustrations were also clean and clear.

3.    Like in most children’s books that I liked, the text printed on every page was appropriate even for very young children. Short simple sentences were used. In some pages, there were just phrases. You’ll notice that the words used in the book were carefully chosen because although the sentences were short and simple, they communicate well the message that the book wanted to impart. Moreover, the text is placed strategically; thus, making it easy to read them. This also prevents the pages from looking cluttered. The font size used also facilitates easy reading.

4.    I liked the message conveyed by the illustrations. In one spread, you’ll see the little girl helping her mother hang the clothes, while one of her brothers watched and played with a younger brother. When it started to rain, you’ll see in the next pages all the kids helping out to bring the clothes inside the house. In another page, you’ll see the kids happily singing and entertaining themselves at home while it was raining outside. There were also pages where the kids decided to play in the rain. Lastly, there’s a page where the kids happily welcomed their father home after working in the field. I think that these illustrations depict good Filipino values that we should pass on to the next generation.

I’m happy that these illustrations support the values that I teach my kids at home. That helping out in household chores is a way of life and that they can have fun even inside the house while it rains. They need not be sad when it rains. Most importantly, I want them to show excitement and eagerness to welcome their Dad when he comes home from work.

5.    There’s also an activity page after the story where the kids can color pictures of items that can help protect us from the rain. These include not just an umbrella but also a banana leaf, a gabi leaf and an anahaw leaf. It’s a good way to introduce these local plants to our kids who mostly live in the city and are not familiar with these plants unless we bring them to the province.

I highly recommend this book to parents with young children. It’s a nice read aloud book that even kids who can already read would enjoy listening to. 

Some of the activities that my kids and I had after reading this book and other books about the rain are the following: drawing rain drops, drawing clouds and lightning, singing nursery songs about the rain, painting rainbows, making clouds using cotton and showing the kids how the clouds accumulate water using cotton also. 
If you're wondering if you should buy a copy of this book soon, check out Pag-asa's weather forecast for the month of September here.
What are some of your favorite books about the rain? Feel free to leave a comment. Would love to hear from you. Aside from this book, we also like reading The Cat in the Hat and Si Jepoy Dyip.

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