ABOUT THE BOOKRain can be fun. But sometimes, ‘lots and lots and lots of rain’ is frightening — when water comes into homes and washes everything away.
Floods and other natural calamities do happen, children do get caught in them, and other children see it all on television. How do they make sense of it? Big Rain was written when the author tried to explain to her three-year-old how the devastating floods in Kerala had affected family and friends and so many, many others. The book talks to children through very simple text and evocative visuals, ending with the important reminder that if you look after nature, nature will look after you. It enables conversations that can heal and empower
- Big Rain is a simple, lyrical narrative about the floods that hit Kerala in 2018. The book opens with the beginnings of the rain, and goes on to explore how the floods impacted the people of Kerala. It concludes by talking about the power of hope and community, and by reminding readers that disasters can be prevented if we take better care of the natural world.
- This picture book does a commendable job of tackling its subject matter and presenting it in a manner that does justice to its seriousness without altogether overwhelming the reader. Its lines are simply constructed – “some lost little, others all” – and convey the sequence of the events without dwelling on the disturbing details. The book’s even, rhythmic narration is easy to follow and leads naturally from one page to another. There is definitely a need to explore this model of writing about contemporary ecological issues, particularly given their growing relevance to daily life.
- The book achieves a perfect balance between pictures and text. Much of what the words don’t say, the illustrations convey, and with great sensitivity. The muted colours and wash of rain over each page help to sustain the sombre mood of the book, and to give young readers an idea of what the floods brought about. Compared to the violent and chaotic visuals that they may have glimpsed on TV or in newspapers, these images are a much more gentle and clear way of communicating the nature of the damage to children.
- Big Rain is ultimately a hopeful book, which is what makes is tonally suitable for young readers. The illustrations take on a sunny hue towards the end, and the text moves on to talking about all the different kinds of helped that the flood’s survivors received. It emphasises how adversity can erase differences and bring people together for a good cause.
- The messaging of the book is a bit abrupt on the last two pages. After having spoken about the power of people and community, the very last pages suddenly jump to talking about the need to care for nature: “And now we must remember… to protect our forests, look after our rivers, care for our lands.” This change in tone takes away somewhat from the impact of the point about community. Also, nowhere in the book does the writer explain the relationship between the exploitation of the environment and the occurrence of natural disasters, which is why children may find it hard to fully understand this jump.