When I saw today’s Perfect Picture Book, I thought back to the many other wonderful books by Lois Ehlert that were family favorites when the now-adult children were young. That memory led to other memories. In particular, I found myself thinking about a holiday when I was the sole adult for part of the vacation. I had “volunteered” to travel ahead with the four and six year-old daughters to central Europe, where my husband met us (in case you’re wondering about my sanity, we visited, and stayed with, family friends much of the time). I recall spending several days in some of the greatest cities of Europe searching for playgrounds, cooling fingers and toes in fountains and doing anything but the typical “tourist” things, such as gazing up at unique architecture and visiting museums. Instead, we looked down, spent most of the time outdoors, and discovered treasures that I’m sure all but the most observant adults missed. They remain treasures to this day.
Title: Rain Fish
Written & Illustrated By: Lois Ehlert
Publisher/date: Beach Lane Books, 2016
Suitable for Ages: 4-7
Themes/Topics: creating art, found art, rainy days, recycling, fish
Opening: “When blue sky turns gray and it rains all day, that’s when rain fish come out and play.”
Brief Synopsis: Rain fish come out to play on rainy days.
Links to Resources:
- Take a “themed” nature walk and talk about the items of a particular shape, color or texture you see
- While on a walk or even in the house, try to find objects that look like something else, like rabbit clouds, or a face hidden in the bark of a tree, etc.
- Create collage art – assemblages of different materials; for some ideas see The Artful Parent. http://artfulparent.com/collage-art-ideas-kids
Why I Like this Book: In our too busy world, we often miss what’s hiding right under our noses. We fail to notice the good, like Lois Ehlert’s colourful fish that accompany the bad, in this case a rainy day. And not only is it a rainy day, but the fish, crafted from found items that most adults would term “garbage”, swim in the gutters. This is a “stop and smell the roses” book if ever there was one and a terrific reminder that one person’s garbage can be recycled into another person’s art – if only we can observe like the child that lives in each of us. Like Lois Ehlert’s many other wonderful picture books, this will be a book that children and adults will enjoy exploring again and again.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!
What a great cover and a unique book that encourages being focused on what’s around you. I love the idea of how recycled garbage can become another’s piece of art. There is a movement in the direction towards rummaging through garbage bins to find usable objects. I recently review a NF book “Trash Talk” that encourages people to look more closely at “trash.” Great selection, today.
It’s funny how you see a completely different — and equally compelling — side of a city when you travel with children. I love the premise behind RAIN FISH; I’ll check it out!
A great message. Can’t wait to read this one. And I can see it being read over and over. Thanks for the recommendation.
This looks so interesting! I love it when kids (and adults) can take ideas from picture books and put them into action!
This would be so much fun with kids!
Loved your introduction. There are so many ways to discover somewhere new. I love the slant of this story, refreshingly different.
Thanks! That’s a big complement coming from such a travel guru!
This is such a wonderful book – after reading it I just wanted to go out and find stuff to make my own art.
So agree! I actually hoped for rain so I could find fish!
I know what you mean by missing what’s under our eyes. I was amazed at the beauty my daughter noticed on our nature walks when she was three and her height kept her close to the ground where so much beauty exists. She’d point out the rolly polly bugs, the tiny clovers growing between sidewalk cracks, the red ladybugs spotting the green moss, and so much more. If it hadn’t been for her observant eyes, we would have walked past a newly hatched robin that fell from his nest. We quickly brought the little bird to a wildlife rescue center. What a wonderful book you reviewed, I’m looking forward to sharing it with my daughter.
I’m so happy this book resonated with you, too.
What a lovely sounding book! Anything to do with enhancing play and imagination is a win for me. And brightening rainy day for parents and kids sounds perfect!
Great pick! So creative!