Review Blog

Oct 15 2019

Dad's wishing the rain would come by Martine Miller

cover image

Illus. by Fiona Levings. Little Steps Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781925545845.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Australia, Outback, Drought, Family, Survival. The harshness that surrounds the farm house, the cracked earth, the almost empty dam tell the readers that they are in drought country, an Australian landscape that is parched and seriously dry. But it's not only Dad wishing for rain again: it's all the animals they see in their journey around the farm. The cattle, eating their hay dropped off over the fence, the chooks scrapping at the red dirt next to Mum's sparse vegetable garden, the birds hanging from the trees with outstretched wings, the boy wanting rain, Mum wanting the sheets to dry without being covered in dust.
Everyone on the farm wants rain, and by the end of the story when rain does fall, all the readers will be parched, feeling like one of the farmers, wishing for rain. The story so often heard on our continent, tells a familiar tale but told with a background of one family's anguish and wishing. The whole family is together in wanting rain, and all for quite different reasons, as all facets of their lives are impacted by the lack of rain. The illustrations parallel the concerns of the family, the red dust permeating everything, the parched looks on all the animals telling the story of need, the vast horizons showing us the lack of grass, feed and water. But rain changes the landscape immeasurably, bringing smiles back onto the faces of the family and the animals, Dad able to hep Mum plant the next lot of vegetables, all the animals lolling about in the new green grass which follows the rain.
A timely picture book which will underline the plight of those who live in the country, may encourage students to think about water and its lack, a looming problem for the world and its people.
Fran Knight

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