Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Picture Book Review - Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle

It's a rainy rainy day here in Northwest Washington, which is actually pretty unusual for us in July. Contrary to what the rest of the world thinks, it doesn't rain every single day here, and the summers can be quite lovely. But a little mid-summer rainstorm is pretty common, and is kind of nice to clear the air and freshen the vegetation. Plus, Sprout thrills at the sights and sounds of a good ol' summer thunderstorm (so does Mom!).

That's the spirit behind Elizabeth Bluemle's whimsical new picture book Tap Tap Boom Boom. I was so excited to read this one because we've loved Bluemle's other books, especially the delightfully be-bopping How Do You Wokka-Wokka?. And with this outing, Bluemle's paired with one of our favorite illustrators, G. Brian Karas, whose The Village Garage is a staple of our fall reading list. So we went into this one with pretty high expectations.

As you might imagine, in a work from two artists who are as dedicated to diversity as they are to their craft, Tap Tap Boom Boom hits all the right notes. Bluemle's all about the wordplay, making her books terrific (if tricky) to read aloud. In this outing, two young boys are playing in their urban neighborhood when it starts to rain. Everybody notices, because this rain starts out small but brings dark clouds and the threat of a big storm. And the promise comes true, because the tempo of the storm picks up quick, with rain, lightning and thunder! Our boys better get undercover pronto, which in the city means running down to the subway, where everyone gathers to ride out the storm. It pretty quick turns into a party, complete with music, pizza, and lots of friendly chatter. And after the rain? Why, a rainbow, of course, plus plenty of new friendships formed through circumstance.

Tap Tap Boom Boom is a great book to share when talking about community and friendship. We love the message that people of all stripes can be friends, regardless of their background or circumstance. There's nothing like the occasion of shared experience to bring people together, and Bluemle absolutely nails the spirit of sheltering out a storm. And the illustrations by Karas, featuring a nicely diverse cast, are the perfect match for the rhythmic text, a blend of collage and sketch that suits the situation to a T.

Young readers will feel like they're right in the center of a sudden storm, in the heart of the city. Next time the rain threatens, don't be surprised if your kiddo wants to go out and about -- Tap Tap Boom Boom makes a rainstorm cause for celebration!

Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle, published by Candlewick Press
Ages 3-5
Source: Library
First line: "Tap tap, dark clouds. Tap tap, damp air. Tap tap, cold drops of rain dot hair."

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