Posted in Preschool Reads

Book Review: Rainstorm, by Barbara Lehman/Illus. by Harry Bliss (Henry Holt & Company, 2004)

rainstormRecommended for ages 3-6

When the moon comes down, in pieces, on a neighborhood street, everyone works together to get it fixed and back up in the sky.

Influenced by the events of September 11th, Jean Gralley wrote this story about a neighborhood’s first responders and citizens coming together in the wake of a potential disaster: the moon falls, breaking into pieces, from the sky. The story celebrates teamwork and its accomplishments as evidenced by the Fire Chief, Rescue Workers, Helper Dogs, and “people everywhere”, all who come running to help, in answer to the question, “Who will make it right again and set it in the air?” A Fred Rogers quote at the beginning of the story reminds children to “Look for the helpers”.

The gouache and mixed media illustrations on white backgrounds soften the images; the author is not interested in focusing on catastrophe, but on collaboration – an important message for a preschool audience. The sparse, rhyming text sits on the page, never intrusive, in a plain black font. Volunteers smile and cheer one another on in their mission, making sure to include everyone: even the Helper Dogs. The book has been used to help children deal with fear and grief surrounding current events like disaster, war, and ever-changing security alerts because of its messages of endurance and optimism.

The book would be a good addition to a read-aloud on rescue workers – firemen, policemen, medical technicians, doctors and nurses – for its positive portrayal of these first responders and their ability to work with everyone around them. Displaying toy fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances around the storytime area will set a mood for the storytime and allow for play. There are firemen and policemen printables available online that children can color and bring home.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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