Review of There Is a Rainbow

There Is a Rainbow
by Theresa Trinder; illus. by Grant Snider
Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    48 pp.    g
1/21    978-1-7972-1166-4    $15.99

A reassuring text and upbeat illustrations get to the heart of our shared COVID-19 experience — gently acknowledging loss and uncertainty while offering a message of hope and resilience. Trinder’s spare text leaves plenty of room for Snider’s textured colored-pencil pictures to tell a story that’s grounded in specifics — school on screens, masked neighbors — yet universal in feeling. On the title-page spread, a boy with brown skin and a yellow jacket approaches a girl with light skin and puffy orange pigtails. She waves as she draws with sidewalk chalk; he waves, too, and carries his own chalk. The text opens with a simple truth: “A story has a beginning and an end”; the illustration shows the two kids collaborating on a rainbow drawing. With a page-turn, the rain starts to fall, and the friends part ways. We next see the girl sitting alone on her front stoop, watching their rainbow wash away: “And there is something in between.” The book’s focus is on that “something”: remote classrooms (“On the other side of a screen // there is a school”), signs of encouragement and support on sidewalks and in windows (including a BLM sign), neighbors helping neighbors, and essential workers on the job. There’s also weariness and sadness: “One the other side of sadness // There are hugs.” The boy and girl appear throughout in separate scenes until the final one, which shows them walking — unmasked! less than six feet apart! — into school. “On the other side of today // there is tomorrow.” Trinder’s compassionate words and Snider’s vibrant art are just right for this moment.

From the May/June 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Kitty Flynn
Kitty Flynn is consulting editor for The Horn Book, Inc.

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