It’s Raining, It’s Pouring
Peter, Paul, and Mary, performers
Peter, Paul and Mary became famous for their ability to convey powerful, personal, and political messages through a repertoire of songs that resonated with millions of Americans in the 1960s. Their 1962 debut album remained in the Top 10 for ten months, and the Top 20 for two years. Their first hit single, “Lemon Tree,” was swiftly followed by “If I Had a Hammer,” which became an anthem of the Civil Rights movement and was performed by the trio at the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his legendary, “I Have a Dream” speech. Their classic song, “Puff, the Magic Dragon” has been a favorite of children for almost fifty years, an d the book version was a number-one best seller. Over a span of more than fifty years, Peter, Paul and Mary touched the lives and hearts of tens of millions of people, won five Grammy Awards, produced thirteen Top 40 hits, and received eight gold and five platinum albums.
Read more about Peter, Paul and Mary.
Christine Davenier, illustrator
Christine Davenier, a Paris-born artist, has illustrated many children’s books, including the best-selling The Very Fairy Princess, written by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Harris; and The First Thing My Mama Told Me by Susan Marie Swanson, which won a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year Award and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book. The many notable authors whose works she illustrated include Norma Fox Mazer, Madeleine L’Engle, Jack Prelutsky, and Judith Viorst. The Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Books praised her work, noting that: “Sometimes illustrators take us to new worlds; sometimes they make us see our own familiar world anew. Christine Davenier gives daily life a freshness and genuine élan that you only hope the world outside her books can match.”
Read more about Christine.
The ideal way to experience this book is to read it while listening to the accompanying CD, which includes songs recorded by the folk trio Peter, Paul, and Mary for their debut album. The CD contains three tracks: “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring,” “Make-Believe Town,” and “Glory of Love.” The book follows Peter, Paul, and the late Mary Travers’ nursery-rhyme tone poem precisely, as it melds together a game of hide-and-seek (Mary does the counting) with the motif of “It’s Raining,” punctuated by nursery rhymes like “Star Light, Star Bright” and “Hey Diddle Diddle.” Davenier’s lively watercolors create a rainy farmhouse scene in which, you guessed it, the old man bumps his head and goes back to bed while a little girl reads him rhymes. The action shuttles from the rhymes to the game of hide-and-seek; as a result, reading this without the musical tracks can be somewhat confusing. With the song playing, though, it’s a little bit magical. Preschool-Grade 2. –Connie Fletcher
The Boston Globe
... And because summer also brings its share of rainy days, “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring" gives life anew to the 1961 Peter, Paul and Mary song (from which it takes its name) thanks to illustrations by Parisian artist, Christine Davenier. Every schoolchild is familiar with the words to this nursery rhyme-based song, “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring.” But Davenier creates her own visual background story to explain exactly how the old man bumped his head, went to bed, and couldn’t get up to play with all of his grandchildren — at least not right away. Her art is airy and bright, colorful and liquid, with apple reds, cool blues, and lime greens.
Best of all, “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring" comes with a CD of Peter, Paul, and Mary singing their famous song, along with two others, “Make Believe Town,” and “Glory of Love.” That makes this the perfect book-and-CD package to take on a long trip to the beach, or to listen to inside on the inevitable rainy day. Both book and CD are wonderful enough to survive every season; like the song itself, they seem destined to become children’s classics.
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
In 1961, Peter, Paul and Mary made an extremely engaging piece combining the title ditty, a game of hide-and-seek and snatches of nursery rhymes; Davenier takes it a visual step further to make an absolutely engaging picture book.
Fluid colors and vivacious line define the images, which not only show a wonderful old house with a warm kitchen and a fine old stairway, but a huge apple tree outside. Populating this cozy locale are a gaggle of children visiting grandma and grandpa. It’s grandpa who is in bed with an ice pack on his head (“the old man is snoring. / Bumped his head…”) The children, driven indoors by the rain, start a game of hide-and-seek. One moppet climbs into bed next to grandpa and reads to him. Familiar nursery rhymes (“Star light, star bright”; “Hey diddle-diddle”) play out in the pictures with grandpa and moppet as actors. Meanwhile, the barefoot children (all of their shoes are lined up by the stairs) are quietly hiding in the closet, under the table where grandma is peeling apples and even under grandpa’s bed! (That’s where the twins are.) There’s a big old dog and a ginger cat, and the cow who jumped over the moon—at least in grandpa’s and moppet’s imaginations—peeks in the window at “Olly, Olly in free!” And it looks like the sun has come out. A note about the song from the performers, Davenier’s note about being at her grandmother’s with all of her cousins and an enclosed three-song CD round out a near-perfect whole.
The original song with its three-part counterpoint is deliciously imagined on these pages.
Davenier's (the Very Fairy Princess books) fluid artwork illustrates the lyrics to Peter, Paul, and Mary's 1962 recording, "It's Raining." When rain interrupts a group of kids' outdoor fun, they head indoors to play hide-and-seek, while one child reads in bed with the ailing "old man" (grandpa), who bumped his head on a flowerpot. The folk trio's lyrics reference the hide-and-seek game, and the verses draw in other nursery rhymes ("Hey Diddle Diddle"; "Star Light, Star Bright"); the song's original verse about burning ladybug children has been skipped, happily. In Davenier's capable hands, the grandparents' warm, welcoming home provides a cozy contrast to the gloomy weather, and the verses accompany whimsical fantasy scenes of grandpa and child interacting with nursery rhyme characters; along with the lines "Won't be my father's Jack./ No, I won't be my mother's Jill," the grandfather offers his ice pack to Jack, who has just tumbled down the hill. A sweet-natured interpretation with a happy ending—grandpa is certainly capable of getting up in the morning. An accompanying CD presents this and two other songs.
School Library Journal
This cozy picture book illustrates the classic song. The appropriately watery, dreamy spreads flesh out the lyrics, creating a variety of side stories for readers to enjoy. When the rain starts, Grandpa, the "old man," bumps his head on a hanging flower pot and is put to bed. Meanwhile, Grandma bakes an apple pie and kids peek out from every corner of the delightful house in an indoor game of hide-and-seek. Colorful watercolors provide appealing details and perspectives, from Grandpa in bed to the hide-and-seek game and then, following the song's lyrics, to a nursery rhyme ("Hey diddle-diddle") somewhere between fantasy and reality with grandpa and one of the children. The CD features this song and two others, and the illustrations work beautifully with the haunting melody. Both the book and the recording omit the song's original verse: "Lady Bug, Lady Bug, fly away home./Your house is on fire, and your children, they will burn, They will burn." A performers' note is included. -Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
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Ages: 4 and up
Page count: 32
11 3/8 x 10 1/2