The message, of course, is deeper than Lea being disappointed that it’s raining–it’s about finding optimism in difficult times, which will speak as much to adults as it does to kids. When Lea and her mom stop at the flower shop, Lea notices that “these days Ms. Henrietta didn’t smile very often,” which serves as a heartbreaking reminder that even the youngest kids know when things aren’t right. It also shows Johnson’s deep respect for her audience, as Lea has the power to observe the sadness in someone she cares about and do what she can to “bring back the sunshine,” even if only for a moment.
Johnson’s illustrations follow wide-eyed Lea and her mother as they walk from place to place. Each scene starts in varying shades of gray, but after Lea observes the goodness in others and infuses each situation with her own brand of enthusiasm, the pictures are full of vibrant colors. Johnson doesn’t need to explicitly mention the pandemic–the book ends with Lea and a friend holding a sign thanking health care workers outside a hospital, making this a touching message of hope for a challenging era.
Takeaway: Johnson’s heartwarming picture book follows a little girl as she looks for the sun on a rainy day–and hope in a time of uncertainty.
Great for fans of: Patrick Guest’s Windows, Smriti Prasadam-Halls’s Rain Before Rainbows.
Design and typography: B+
Marketing copy: B+