- Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle
A rainstorm begins slowly with a “Tap TAP” of drops spattering the city landscape, and as the storm builds, street carts selling rain gear appear on the sidewalk, umbrellas go up, and, eventually, people flee to the subway for protection: “Downstairs we wait./ Folks congregate./ We squeeze./ Whose feet and knees are these?” The unexpected underground gathering encourages a neighborly feeling, and strangers share pizza and make friends while waiting out the storm. Finally, the storm dissipates and people emerge from their subway shelter: “We race upstairs./ Shake drops off hair./ ‘Look up!’ we cry./ Surprise in sky.” Sure enough, a rainbow appears as folks return to their big city business:“‘Til the next/ Tap TAP Tap TAP/ BOOM BOOM/ ‘Til the next/ Tap TAP/ BOOM BOOM!” The sonorous language of [End Page 350] Bluemle’s rhythmic text makes it a pleasure to read aloud, and though the rhymes are sometimes approximate (“One girl all fancy/. She’s late for dancing”), the overall narrative is smooth. Karas’ illustrations—a mixture of photographs, gouache, and pencil—are as expressive and detailed as always, and the combination of media expertly captures both the energy of a big city and the quietness of a pause in the commotion. A multicultural cast of distinct figures, several of which can be followed throughout the book, moves across the pages. The large, clear sans serif font and short, simple phrases might also put this within range of novice readers who can handle an occasional challenging vocabulary word. Save this for a rainy day, or pair it with Hesse’s Come On, Rain! (BCCB 4/99) for a dynamic duo of city shower stories.