TITLE: "Rain Before Rainbows"
BY: Smriti Prasadam-Halls and David Litchfield (Candlewick Press, Oct. 6), ages 3-7, 32 pages, $16.99 hardcover, free digital download until Sept. 30.
STORY: Less a story than a message, this book was inspired by Psalm 30:5, which reads: "Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."
The text is reassuring, and the illustrations are appropriately gorgeous. We follow a girl and her magical fox as they travel from bad times to wonderful times, following the promise of a rainbow.
As British publisher Walker Books did in the United Kingdom, Candlewick Press has arranged a free download of this children's picture book as a campaign for the charity Save the Children. Its Save With Stories campaign aims to help feed kids whose schools close during the pandemic. Across the nation, millions of children eat breakfast or breakfast and lunch at school. With schools closed, they have needed other food sources.
On the Instagram account @savewithstories, actors and actresses can be found reading all kinds of children's books aloud. Helen Mirren delivers "Tadpole's Promise," Benedict Cumberbatch reads "Three Little Monkeys," Jamie Lee Curtis reads "Go Dog Go," Hugh Grant reads "Stick Man" ... Stanley Tucci reads "Rainbows."
The book will be for sale in hardback starting Oct. 6. Ahead of that publication, it is available until Sept. 30 as a free digital download from e-book platforms (including Kindle) and from stayhome.candlewick.com.
Activity sheets for the book and other books are on the same site below the download link.
That site also includes a link donors can use to make a contribution to Save the Children. You don't have to donate to get the download. The download is an attention-getter for the charity. Once "Rainbows" goes on sale Oct. 6, its price will not include a donation to the charity.
Candlestick's site also includes a link to the excellent pandemic-explaining free book "Coronavirus: A Book for Children."
Smriti Prasadam-Halls also wrote "Welcome to Your World" and "I Love You Night and Day." Illustrator David Litchfield's recent work includes "When Paul Met Artie: The Story of Simon & Garfunkel" by G. Neri.
Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.