Cover image for In the Rainfield : who is the greatest?
In the Rainfield : who is the greatest?
Olaleye, Isaac.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Blue Sky Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
When Wind, Fire, and Rain meet in the land of the Yoruba to decide which of them is the greatest, Wind and Fire make great shows of strength, but Rain demonstrates the power of gentleness.
Reading Level:
AD 380 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.5 0.5 58274.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.4 2 Quiz: 20275 Guided reading level: M.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.O43 IN 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.1.O43 IN 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Angry Wind, boastful Fire, and mild Rain hold a contest to determine who is the greatest. In a satisfying ending, real power is found not in anger or violence, but in calm and gentle behavior.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. In this folktale retold by Nigerian Olaleye, three elements compete to see which one is the greatest. Wind goes first, blowing roofs, huts, and animals into the air in a violent windstorm. Fire is next, "eating everything in its way, weere, weere." Fire refuses to stop, and Wind is unable to stop him, so Rain takes her turn, proving that gentleness is the best. The story is simple and direct, told with sound effects integrated into the text, and touches reminiscent of Verna Aardema's work. Grifalconi's illustrations--collage with cutout photos and paint--are scary and sophisticated, but the pages don't flow well as style differs markedly from page to page. Even the swirls of marbelized color that appear through the book don't quite succeed in tying things together. The artwork, does, however, capture the story's drama and offers a clear picture of how completely the people are at the mercy of the elements. --Susan Dove Lempke

Publisher's Weekly Review

Grifalconi's (The Village of Round and Square Houses) surreal collages explode across the pages of this eye-popping book, layering photographs and cut-paper images against a whirling, swirling backdrop worthy of the credit sequence to a James Bond film. The result is highly kinetic, a mesmerizing foil to a Nigerian folktale about an argument between Wind, Fire and Rain. The three elements--characterized as two men and a woman--squabble over who is greatest and finally hold a contest to determine the mightiest of all. Wind howls, Fire rages, but Rain wins, vanquishing her rivals with a downpour that demonstrates her credo, "The greatest must be the gentlest." Olaleye's (Bitter Bananas) prose is sleek and limber, and peppered with African words and phrases ("Village children huffed and puffed, kia kia, kata-kiti, running from the wind"). The language gains extra texture from judicious use of alliteration ("Fire fumed with great fury"). The energy of the folktale is whipped up in Grifalconi's collages, where marbled-paper backdrops (enlarged to set off their exotically curving patterns) provide a '60s-ish psychedelic effect. Between the tempestuous story line and the electrifying art, this is one wild ride from beginning to end. Ages 4-9. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-In this compelling Nigerian tale, Wind, Fire, and Rain do battle to determine "who is the greatest" in a world so powerfully rendered that readers cannot help but be drawn into the cosmic competition. With a perfect blending of vivid language and stunning illustrations, Olaleye and Grifalconi have created an exquisite book in which the shrieking Wind sends its hapless victims flying into the treetops, while proud Fire burns so fiercely that the heat practically singes readers' hands. But it is the cooling Rain that reigns supreme, dousing Fire and shaming the Wind into declaring "The gentlest is the greatest!" The tale is rich with sound and imagery, yet it soars when complemented by the visually arresting mixed-media collages that combine photographs with marbleized and textured papers. A glowing effort.-Teri Markson, Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School, Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.