Almost Time by Gary D. Schmidt & Elizabeth Stickney; illustrated by G. Brian Karas. 2020. Pencil and digital color. Published by Clarion Books.
Brief summary: Ethan asks his father if it is sap running time yet after sitting down to eat pancakes that have applesauce instead of maple syrup. The week after, Ethan’s dad makes him corn bread but still no syrup. He keeps asking his father when it will be time. Each Sunday, Ethan gets another answer. The days finally warm up with more sunlight. It’s maple syrup season! Ethan helps his father boil the syrup and pour the thickened liquid into bottles. Pancakes with syrup at last.
Comments: Young readers can relate to looking forward to having pancakes with syrup for breakfast but keep getting everything else instead.
I would include this book in the how things are made unit.
The maple syrup season is when the days are around 40* and the nights are below freezing which are usually between mid February to mid March.
Red Sky at Night by Elly MacKay; illustrated by Elly MacKay. 2018. Cutout paper drawings placed in dioramas and photographed. Published by Tundra.
Brief summary: This beautifully illustrated story is of a grandfather and his two young grandchildren looking outside to the sky to see if they can determine the weather for tomorrow’s fishing adventure. Weather-related sayings and idioms are shared as they enjoy the fishing trip, night of camping, and the next day.
Comments: I recognized some of the weather predicting sayings that I was taught as a child. These three-dimensional illustrations are gorgeous! The story is told with the illustrations. This definitely would be a Caldecott contender if Elly MacKay lived in the USA instead of Canada. Looking forward to more beautiful illustrations from this author/illustrator.
I would house this book in weather 551 or picture books.
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Home in the Rain by Bob Graham; illustrated by Bob Graham. 2016 (Walker Books Ltd; London, UK). 2017 (Candlewick Press Mass. USA). Ink and watercolors.
Brief summary: It is pouring rain as Francie and her pregnant mother leave Grandma’s house and drive away in a little red car. The window wipers are going back and forth with rain coming straight down as the car moves along the crowded highway. Francie notices the farmland on either side. Wildlife live on both sides of the highway up in the hills and along the coast. The car windows are fogging up. Francie writes her name on one window, Mom on another, and Dad on another with just one window left blank. Her mother pulls over so that they can eat lunch inside the car. Francie asks what her baby sister’s name will be so she add it to the back window. Her mother is not sure yet. They pull back into the traffic with the relentless rain still pelting the car. Her mother pulls into a gas station where there are several other cars and people. Francie splashes in a rainbow-colored puddle. Her mother realizes the name of the baby sister and gives Francie a big hug as they head back towards home now with the back window displaying the baby’s name.
Comments: I liked the quietness of this story that matched the quietness of the rain coming down. Although Bob Graham is Australian and the book was first published in the U.K. before making it to the US, there are no language differences that would hinder with the story and characters. This would be great to read aloud to young students during one of those days when it is raining all day.
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The Storm by Akiko Miyakoshi; illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi. Originally printed in Japan 2009. 2016. Charcoal illustrations.
Brief summary: A school boy is told to go straight home after school, as there is a bad storm coming. The boy is upset because he wanted to go the beach with his family. The storm’s winds and rains come along with thunder and lightening causing him to hide under his blankets where he dreams of pushing the storm away. He wakes the next morning to a blue sky.
Comments: The whole book is done in grays matching the mood of the storm. The blue sky on the last page really popped. This would be a good read to students during the weather unit of study.