Review Blog

Sep 18 2017

Two rainbows by Sophie Masson and Michael McMahon

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Little Hare, 2017. ISBN 9781760127794
The little girl looks out from her city window and sees a cloud and part of a rainbow. At first, it seems like it is the only colour in this grey, drab city landscape and she thinks longingly of the rainbows she used to see in the country on the family farm - rainbows that spanned the whole sky and lit it up, not just a small arc peeping from a cloud because the sky is full of buildings.
But gradually she begins to see spots of colour in her new surroundings - not the full-blooded red of the tractor of the farm but the red postbox in the street; not the orange of the sunset and the twine around the hay bales, but a curl of orange peel on the pavement; not the blue of her sheepdog Billy's eyes but the paint of a neighbour's fence... And there is one colour that both landscapes have in common.
This story is a marriage of text and illustration, each interdependent as they should be in quality picture books. At first the little girl sees only the rainbow, even though there are other spots of colour around her, as she thinks nostalgically of the colours of the country, but as she starts to see more of her environment, so too the colours in the pictures increase although the city remains grey and the country bathed in light. And as her thoughts slowly attune to the city environment she begins to see more objects, different from the farm but perhaps with something to offer as she peers over the blue fence and sees a treehouse with a rope ladder and maybe a friend.
Perhaps, after all, there is but one rainbow - it just sees different things. An interesting contrast between city and country living that poses the question about why the family may have moved; about nostalgia as we tend to yearn for the things we remember when we are out of our comfort zone and hope as we learn to adjust and adapt to new places, new things and new experiences.
Barbara Braxton

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