In preparation for my weather storytime coming up, I ran across a book that I had met as a new book at the end of 2014, used for a storytime, and then forgot about: Blue on Blue by Dianne White. Ms. White uses just a few words per page to create a lyrical, rhyming text, and the illustrations by Beth Krommes are lovely. Together they tell the story of a day that starts beautifully on the farm, but a big storm rolls in that lasts all day. While the text focuses on the storm itself, the rich, textural illustrations show what goes on at the farm during the storm. The storm fades in late afternoon, leaving plenty of puddles. As the day on the farm winds to a close, so does the book, finishing in the stillness of a moonlit night.
Ya’ll, this book is gorgeous.
The text makes it appropriate for toddlers on up, and lends itself to dramatic reading. Oftentimes, I will add gestures when I read to make a book come alive, but this book really doesn’t need it. The word choice is exquisite, and with a little vocal play the short sentences can make the storm vivid in the readers’ minds.
The first time I used this book in storytime, I did it for myself. I figured that the kids won’t like it nearly as much as I did, but I liked it so well that I couldn’t resist. Well, I was wrong. The kids were GLUED to the pages. There wasn’t laughter or other responses, but they seemed transfixed. That’s a win in my book.
So, I used the book again in this storytime, as the last book of three for 40 preschoolers. I got the same result. I love the hush at the end of a book when the children just continue to look at it, and you, without saying anything because they’re still in that magical place that the book has created for them.
I shared this book with a colleague, who liked it so well that she used it for her Mother Goose storytime. She has had an ongoing conversation with parents about the emphasis of beginning sounds in books, and used this book as a good example of repetitive sounds. She also explained how the book is perfect for bedtime because of the way that it quietly winds down into peace.
So, need a picture book for weather, farm, or bedtime? I’ve got a winner for you!