Some children's books are written to entertain. Others are written to educate in an entertaining manner. Rainy Day falls in the latter category.

Written by a journalist who specializes in children's books, Rainy Day has a simple theme: Children can have meaningful relationships with fathers who no longer live in the home. The book describes the experiences of a young boy visiting with his father on a rainy day. They romp together in the rain, explore a wooded park, then visit a seashore, where giant waves pound in all about them. Toward the end of their visit, the rain stops and the sun breaks through the clouds, allowing sea gulls to fill the air. The message is simple: Rainy days aren't so bad. And they don't last forever. Incredibly, the father and son depicted in the book bear a remarkable resemblance to Cuban Juan Miguel Gonzalez and his son Elian. That is a coincidence, of course, since the artwork was completed long before the Gonzalez family made news around the world as a symbol of paternal rights, but it does get your attention.

Illustrator Angelo Rinaldi does an excellent job with the artwork, although its grainy, soft-focus images seem to target adults more than children. Where Rinaldi truly excels is in his depictions of the physical interactions between father and son. There is lots of hugging and hand holding and playful roughhousing. Obviously, Rinaldi understands that young children are far better able to remember their parents' physical gestures toward them than their spoken words. With children, a single loving gesture is worth a thousand words or any number of expensive toys. Children who read the book will probably pick up on this message faster than their parents.

Written for children ages five to eight, this book is highly recommended for households experiencing divorce or separation.

Before becoming an author of books for adults, James L. Dickerson worked for seven years as a social worker in a child protection agency. He is a divorced father of a son.

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