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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday 10 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Picture Books We Love

April Showers: 10 Picture Books for a Rainy Day

April showers might bring May flowers, but what to do on a gloomy rainy day? While we wait for the bright colors of flowers and new leaves, let's try to enjoy these days of early spring rain. Break out the rainboots and umbrellas and spend an afternoon exploring a wet world of puddles, mud, and newly formed rivers and streams. Maybe you'll even find a waterfall! When you've had your fill, warm up and dry off with a few picture books that know exactly how to celebrate a rainy day.

Explore your wet world:

Peter Spier's Rain (Doubleday & Company, 1982) This wordless picture book is told in comic book fashion as two children explore their neighborhood in the rain. Their simple adventures and delights, such as splashing in puddles or observing the waterdrops on a spider's web, remind readers of the fun that a rainy day can bring.

Rain Rain Rivers by Uri Shulevitz (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1969) Uri Shulevitz's illustrations and spare, poetic text make this a soothing and beautiful journey through a rainy world. The illustrations begin with a girl stuck inside on a rainy day and then expand little by little as the reader is transported through different landscapes as it rains on fields, mountains, rivers and seas. Each illustration gets larger and larger until the water consumes the entire page, before returning back to the little girl and her friends. "We'll run barefoot in puddles and stamp in warm mud. I'll jump over pieces of sky in the gutter." This book captures the beauty and joy of a rainy day perfectly.

Stuck inside on a rainy day:

The Napping House by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood (Harcourt, 1984) In this fun cumulative tale, on a dark rainy day everyone is sleepy. One by one, a dreaming child, a dozing dog, a snoozing cat, etc., all join a snoring granny in a nap. As they tower on top of each other in a heap, readers should keep on eye on the windows in each illustration, as the rain begins to lessen and the sun starts to come out. When a flea bites a mouse that one by one startles everyone awake, you get a hilarious, bright and energetic ending to a rainy day.

Rainstorm by Barbara Lehman (Houghton Mifflin, 2007) Stuck inside due to bad weather, a bored and lonely boy finds a mysterious key that unlocks a fantastical adventure. Through wordless panels, the boy leaves not only his home, but also the gloomy rainy day behind, as he travels through a secret passageway that takes him under the ocean to a distant island. On the sunny island he finds new friends and fun that will from now on will keep rainy days much more interesting.


Umbrella by Taro Yashima (Puffin Books, 1958) For her birthday, Momo is given brand new rainboots and an umbrella and she just can't wait to use them. But every day is either too sunny or too windy and her mother says she must wait for a rainy day to use her new umbrella. Young readers will relate to Momo's difficulty in finding the patience to wait for rain. When it finally does rain, Momo is able to show how grown-up she can be using her umbrella for the very first time.

The Umbrella by Jan Brett (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2004) Carlos takes his umbrella into the rainforest as he goes searching for animals. Similar to Jan Brett's bestselling The Mitten, Carlos leaves his umbrella behind as he climbs a tree for a better view and one-by-one rainforest creatures climb into his umbrella. But as the small umbrella gets more and more crowded, the animals are in for a very wet surprise.

Little clouds:

Little Cloud by Eric Carle (Penguin, 1996) While all the bigger clouds drift high in the sky, Little Cloud playfully changes in a variety of shapes, like a shark or an airplane. When he finally joins the other clouds in the sky, together they're able to rain on the little houses below. With bold and simple collage illustrations, young readers will love to identify each of Little Cloud's shapes as he changes in the sky and then point out pictures they see in the clouds in the sky outside. A great book for introducing types of clouds and basic weather to preschool and early elementary classrooms.

Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld (Henry Holt, 2011) Cloudette is a small cloud who feels she doesn't quite measure up to the big clouds. She tries to do big important things that the other clouds do, such as create a big storm or make rivers overflow with her rain, but it isn't until she rescues a small frog on a dried up pond with a little rain that Cloudette finds that a little cloud can still have a BIG impact.

Fun in the rain:

The Rain Stomper by Addie Boswell, illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Marshall Cavendish, 2008) Jazmin thinks rain ruins parades and she wants nothing to get in the way of her big day of baton twirling. Her impatient tapping leads to frustrated banging, until "BOOM walla BOOM, walla walla BOOM!" Jazmin steps outside and challenges the rain. In a delightful read-aloud of onomatopoeia, Jazmin shakes, splashes and stomps in the rain with her baton and turns a potential bad, rainy day into a stellar performance for the whole neighborhood.

Come on, Rain! by Karen Hesse, illustrated by Jon J. Muth This personal favorite of mine is perhaps better suited for a hot summer day, but as I'm listing rain books, I just couldn't leave it off the list. With beautiful poetic text, Karen Hesse evokes the oppressive heat of a summer day in the city where everyone is just waiting and praying for a cool rain. When it finally comes, these girls and their mothers know just how to celebrate - put on their bathing suits and go outside and dance! A gorgeous book in both text and illustration.

How will you spend your next rainy day? Do you have a favorite rainy day books to share? Let us know in a comment below.


Wednesday, April 4, 2011 - 7:36 pm
Have to add another Audrey Wood favorite to that list- Jubal's Wish.

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