Scholastic Press: NY, 1999.
The neighborhood is suffering from a drought this summer. Tessie observes the wilting plants, the burning of the heat, the heat shimmering off the pavement, and then the clouds that could bring the much needed rain. She begs her mom to allow her to wear her swimsuit, anticipating the celebratory romp through the shower. Tessie calls her friends together to share the experience, and spontaneously it becomes more.
To truly appreciate the story you must have known a drought period when everyone was desperate for rain. The text is simple, but descriptive and eloquent. Much like the work of Jon Muth's own books. Hesse has done an excellent job of building suspense and the feeling of waiting for the needed rain.
The pictures are more somber than usual for Jon Muth. The watercolors match the prose beautifully. So much emotion is conveyed with simplicity. Two of my favorites are four sets of young hands reaching up to the sky and bare feet waiting as the first fat drops fall in the dust.
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