Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: Outstanding in the Rain

Publish June 9, 2015

Outstanding in the Rain: A Whole Story with Holes, by Governor General’s Award finalist, Frank Viva, is a wholly ingenious picture book that invites many repeated readings. In this deceptively simple tale, a mother and son enjoy a daytrip to Coney Island. The amusement park is humming with excitement, as they race down midway rides, stroll through boardwalk attractions and picnic on the beach. With great aplomb, the spare, rhyming text employs oronyms (words that sound the same, but have different meanings), like “fork handles” and “four candles” and “night rain” and “night train”. On the opening spread, the young boy cheers, “ ‘Ice Cream,’ I say, my birthday surprise!” The word “cream” appears through a die-cut hole. A page turn reveals that “cream” has now become part of the word “scream” in the next sentence: “ ‘Oh no!’ I scream, with tears in my eyes.” Having dropped his frosty treat, the young boy wails in open-mouthed consternation while a dog eagerly laps it up. Frank Viva’s signature, striking graphic design features hand-lettered text and a limited palette of bright turquoise, chocolate brown, candy apple red and mustard yellow. Armchair tourists will delight in the panoramic scenes filled with cotton candy kiosks, Palm Reader booths and “Whac-a-Mole” games. One part picture puzzle and one part word game, Outstanding in the Rain is an outstanding accomplishment.

Outstanding in the Rain

Frank Viva
Tundra Books, Penguin Random House of Canada
ISBN 13: 978-1-101-91768-8

Linda Ludke
Linda Ludke

Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library.  Her reviews have appeared in Quill and QuireSchool Library Journal and CM:  Canadian Review of Materials.  When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.

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