by Melanie Florence
Kids Can Press
A thunderstorm evokes a boy’s family traditions, in this rainy-day story from award-winning author Melanie Florence.
Benjamin loves the rain. He loves splashing through puddles in his bright yellow rain boots and watching the colors of a rainbow in the water as they ripple around his feet. But most of all, Benjamin loves thunder. To him, thunder — piyêsiwak — sounds like his grandfather’s drum. It calls to him, like the songs his grandfather plays while his father and other powwow dancers spin and step in time to the drumbeat. As Benjamin hears the thunder rumble overhead, he imagines himself as a powwow dancer. He spins, he taps his feet and he lifts his knees. Faster and faster he twirls, delighted by and filled with the rhythm of piyêsiwak.
This artfully written story from award-winning author Melanie Florence celebrates both the universal joys of playing in the rain and the connections to family traditions that center and ground us. Elements of Cree powwow culture and Cree words for colors and weather are interwoven into the story, with a pronunciation guide in the back matter. The vibrant and eye-catching art by Hawlii Pichette, inspired by the scenery of northern Ontario, adds drama to the pages. This inviting picture book makes a perfect read-aloud for a rainy day, as well as an excellent introduction to Cree cultural traditions, local communities and experiencing nature firsthand.