Abigail and the restless raindrop by Matthew Cunningham

cover image

Illus. by Sarah Wilkins. Puffin, 2020. ISBN: 9780143774495.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. One rainy day Abigail has a big question. She asks her mother where the rain comes from. She is told it comes from the clouds, and yes she says but how does it get there. Mum explains with the story of just one drop of water, a restless drop of water. Floating around in the lake it sees the sky above and wants above all else to fly. One warm day it begins its journey, first becoming warmer and warmer, until finally changing into a puff of steam. That puff of steam flies into the air, wandering over hills and mountains, looking at the lake far below. She joins many other puffs of steam and when they all join they fall to the earth as rain, back to where she started from.
This delightful story is a wonderful read aloud on a wintry day, involving the listeners in the story of how the rain falls to earth, showing the weather in the background of each page, showing the cycle of water. Abigail's questioning about her environment will be a smart introduction to lessons about what is about us, and asking children to think of what question they want answered. In this way this book could be a wonderful gateway into talking about the environment with classes, and rain in particular.
New Zealand illustrator, Sarah Wilkins has a most eye catching style using a mix of acrylic, gouache, ink and digital techniques to create her distinctive work. Wonderful to see a girl character in shorts rather than the dresses so many seem to wear in children's picture books, and see her stomping through puddles, messing about in trees, rowing on the lake and above all, wondering. And looking out of the window at the night sky, another question seems imminent, and readers will ponder what that might be.
A book full of wonder and questions. Themes: Rain, Raindrops, STEM, Science, Environment, Humour.
Fran Knight