CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 21 . . . . June 22, 2001
It's raining, it's pouring.After singing the rhyme, Little Girl asks "Why is the Old Man in bed with a cold in his head?" Since her mother cannot answer the question, Little Girl embarks on a quest to find out for herself. Once Little Girl secures a ladder, she begins to climb up and up, through the house, through the attic skylight, right up to the nearest thundercloud. Several creatures follow Little Girl on her ascent to the sky - a duck, a mouse, a dog, a bat, a robin, and a cat.
Old Man is a giant who lives in the clouds and controls the weather. He tells Little Girl that he has a terrible cold - his head hurts, his eyes are watering, and his throat tickles. Little Girl informs the giant that when she has a cold, her mother gives her hot honey and lemon to drink. Old Man tells Little Girl that he does not have a mother! She descends the ladder with her companions, including the newest addition, a Canada Goose. With the help of her mother, Little Girl assembles her own ingredients to cure the giant's cold. She also accumulates another creature - a hedgehog.
Once again, Little Girl and her companions ascend the ladder to Old Man's bed. The giant gratefully accepts all of elements of Little Girl's cure, and, immediately, he begins to feel better. The sun comes out, and, with the help of a sunbeam, courtesy of Old Man, Little Girl and her companions slide back home. Once there, Little Girl puts on her runners and goes outside to play - in the puddles!
Spalding easily merges reality and fantasy in this delightful tale. Little Girl shows initiative and resourcefulness in discovering the answer to her original question. The book includes colourful illustrations that extend the entertaining text. Through the illustrations, readers learn that Little Girl is the offspring of an interracial marriage. The adult characters in the book seem unaware of Little Girl's creatures! Readers will enjoy looking for her companions in the illustrations. Appropriately, the end papers of the book are illustrated with rain pouring from grey clouds!
Sylvia Pantaleo is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Education, Queen's University, in Kingston, ON, where she teaches courses in Language Arts.
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