This comforting, lyrical story focuses on the mystery and beauty of an approaching storm. As wind whistles through the treetops and lightning brightens the darkening sky, a mother and her watchful daughter participate in a gentle, lilting call-and-response dialogue. Joann Early Macken’s story works as both a delightful educational introduction to the various aspects of a rainstorm, as well as a feather-light reassurance to a child who is curious and fearful about the weather.

The mother’s replies are printed in italics, while her daughter’s questions appear in a large, bolder font. These are consistent throughout the tale, making it easy to distinguish the voices of the two characters. The mother’s answers, compassionate and comforting, lend a lullaby-like quality to the text, while Susan Gaber’s lovely depictions of the emerging storm, some on two-page spreads, offer views of the mother-daughter bond, as well as portraits of contented and cozy animals and humans who are safe at home.

As they experience the drama created by the storm, the mother’s soothing explanations calm her daughter. Watching and pondering, dashing between raindrops, both have witnessed the beauty and power of nature. Detailed illustrations offer little ones the opportunity to explore, observe and appreciate the wonders of the natural world. A lovely rhapsody of shared fascination, Waiting Out the Storm is a delight for both young readers and listeners.

Freelance writer Andrea Tarr is a librarian at Corona Public Library in Southern California.

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