Cover image for Monsoon
Krishnaswami, Uma, 1956-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
A child describes waiting for the monsoon rains to arrive and the worry that they will not come.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.4 0.5 75046.
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Geographic Term:
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Publisher description
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books

On Order



Get out your umbrellas!

Children play, birds call, and grownups go about their business during the hot days of summer in northern India. But in the bustle of street and marketplace, everyone is watching, waiting for those magical clouds to bring their gift of rain to the land. Through the observations of one young girl, the scents and sounds, the dazzling colors, and the breathless anticipation of
a parched cityscape are vividly evoked during the final days before the welcome arrival of the monsoon.

Rhythmic prose and vivid chalk pastels flood the senses and take the reader on a tour of diverse urban India.

Author Notes

Uma Krishnaswami is the author of several books for children. She was born in New Delhi, India, and now lives in Aztec, New Mexico.

Jamel Akib grew up in Malaysia and now lives in Leigh-on-Sea, England. This is his first picture book.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 2. A welcome glimpse into another culture and climate, this is the latest ofrishnaswami's children's books about India. In a parched Indian city, a girl and her family wait for the end-of-summer rains that will sweep away the scent of dust--gravelly, grainy, gritty dust--blowing on the winds and sprinkling through our clothes and hair. The girl's mother worries about floods, but the little narrator confesses another fear: What if they never come, those monsoon rains? The girl's spare narration gives the impression of serious oppression, while Akib's sun-baked art, hazy like a hot summer day, conveys the richness of a dry, dusty setting as well as the pleasant, active household; the busy streets featuring cattle-and-car traffic; the tea stalls; the Bollywood posters; and Hindi sculptures. The girl's heightened language nicely captures the intensity of both her longing for the rains and her relief when they finally arrive. An afterword provides details about the nature, geography, and dangers of monsoon rains, and a glossary defines the four Hindi words used in the story. --Abby Nolan Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Krishnaswami (Chachaji's Cup) offers a lyrical slice-of-life story about contemporary India on the eve of the monsoon season. Walking through crowded city streets, the girl narrator absorbs her mother's worries about the rain. "How much will it rain? How fast, how hard?" And another question hangs in her mind, much like the "cry of the crows in the old neem tree/ hangs in the dust-pink air"-what if the rains never come? The author evokes the oppressive weather in tense images: the heat makes the girl feel "like a crocodile/ crouching snap-jawed"; "hot loo winds tear through the city./ They rip the paper off billboards/ and shred the smiles of movie stars." Readers experience the sights and sounds of another culture as the girl and her brother play hopscotch to the sound of temple bells "clanging, clanging," and a taxi driver honks futilely at the tired old cow who stubbornly blocks his path in the street. Debut illustrator Akib suggests the heaviness of the air in the thick strokes and hazy palette of his stylized, almost dreamlike illustrations, capturing the bustle of the streets with slightly off-kilter perspectives. American readers will enjoy the exotic clothing and customs (when it rains, the adults offer coins to "potbellied Ganesh, god of beginnings"), all the more so because they will recognize the girl's feelings as very much like their own. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-An evocative portrait of the tension preceding the start of monsoon season in northern India and the sense of relief accompanying its arrival. A child awaits the rains while enduring heat that makes her feel "like a crocodile crouching snap-jawed." She observes signs of the imminent downpour in the weather conditions, her family's behavior, and activity in the community. Krishnaswami's poetic text rides faithfully on the child's sensibilities: as it begins to pour, "Umbrellas turn into walking forests. The raindrops make me laugh out loud, thudding on earth and rooftops and on my skin." Akib's impressionistic, pastel illustrations make stunning use of extreme perspectives, as his characters shift from hope for the monsoon to fear of its power to excitement as the sky opens. Full spreads capture the stillness before the cloudburst and the energy it brings. Text and illustrations depict the flavor of the city: coins tossed at the feet of a statue of Ganesh; streets crowded with taxis, motor scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians; Mummy buying food at the sidewalk marketplace. This powerful book depicts a universal occurrence, while relating the expectations, customs, and needs of a particular locale. Pair it with Catherine Stock's Gugu's House (Clarion, 2001), which is set in Zimbabwe, and Karen Hesse's Come On, Rain! (Scholastic, 1999).-Liza Graybill, Worcester Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.