Beauty, Art, Music in Literature Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] The Beauty And Music Of The Outdoors Captured in Two 2018 Picturebooks from the UK

New books from David Almond, Levi Pinfold, and Grahame Baker-Smith.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community. 

I chanced upon these two recently-published picturebooks during my usual weekend visit to the library, and I just know that I need to feature both given our current reading theme.

The Rhythm Of The Rain

Written and Illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith
Published by Templar Publishing (2018)
ISBN: 1787410145 (ISBN13: 9781787410145). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Grahame Baker-Smith is back with this picturebook that celebrates the rhythm of the outdoors, the transformation of a jar of water emptied into a stream of pool that has joined the river and the larger universe of water that is out there, both evident and invisible to the eye.

While this one seems to have a touch of Aaron Becker in it (think Questwith the touch of the magic in the art, the reader is also keenly aware that the awe-inspiring illustrations are grounded in the blues and greens of the outdoors, if one would only see and truly listen to its rhythm.

While I marveled at the gasp-inducing art, there is also the expansiveness in the storyline that loops back into itself in the end, forming a cohesive, coherent whole that would make the contemplative reader think about the drop of water on her windowpane – and where it may have come from. We are, after all, a part of something infinite.

The Dam

Written by David Almond Illustrated by Levi Pinfold
Published by Candlewick Studio (2018)
ISBN: 0763695971 (ISBN13: 9780763695972). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Based on a real life narrative situated in Kielder Water in North Northumberland in the United Kingdom, the story speaks hauntingly of homes lost, displaced plants and animals, and everything else that “can never live here again.”

The Afterword noted that when a great dam was constructed in the late 70s and early 80s, many homes and families were affected and relocated, the entire village abandoned.

However, before the valley was filled with water, a father and a young girl went around the whole area, providing the place a final gift of music and beauty.

With a fiddle, a song, and a dance – the spaces echoed – not with abandonment – but with the promise of that which is yet to come. Truly a haunting and poignant ode to all that is lost but never forgotten.

#LitWorld2018GB Update: Grahame Baker-Smith, David Almond and Levi Pinfold are all from the United Kingdom.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

6 comments on “[Monday Reading] The Beauty And Music Of The Outdoors Captured in Two 2018 Picturebooks from the UK

  1. Sarah Sammis

    The Dam sounds good. Reminds me of a middle grade fiction from Australia called Below. My weekly update

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just picked up The Dam from my library, love David Almond so know it will be good, & now your sharing! Thanks for the rain book, too, Myra. I’ll look for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Both of these look beautiful! WOW. And I’m definitely adding The Dam to my growing “music picture books” list. I cannot wait to see the lovely artwork for myself. Thank you for sharing, Myra! I hope you have a wonderful reading week!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These both look really good. The artwork is so pretty!

    My list

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such beautiful looking books. I can see the comparison to Quest that you mention. I really want to read The Rhythm of the Rain. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That Graham Baker-Smith art is incredible! I have got to get my hands on this book. The Dam is also one I’d like to find–an unusual subject for a picture book and looks very well done and thought-provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

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