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ISBN 978-0-7636-9269-8 $16.99 R* 4-8 yrs
After a visit with Grandma, Francie and her mother head home, driving through the pelting rain. In classic Bob Graham fashion, though, what’s important here isn’t just the underlying story of a family waiting for a new baby and Dad’s home-coming but the moments themselves, moments of listening to the sound of the wipers from inside a steamy car, of lying in Mom’s lap during a quiet in-car picnic, of playing in the rainbow puddles at the gas station. Graham’s cozy lyricism runs from unforced repetition to evocative turns of phrase (“And not looking where it was going, the countryside ran straight into the edge of the highway, bringing with it the faint smell of farmyards”). The line and watercolor art has Graham’s familiar casual delicacy, with the precise geometry of trucks, road, and slanting rain contrasting with the dishevelment of the car interior, the curly dark blur of Francie’s hair, and her bottoms-up wiggle into the backseat. Viewers will adore the [End Page 19] seek-and-find puzzle of matching textual mention to illustrative detail. This might make an interesting companion to Portis’ Now (BCCB 7/17) to explore the joy of immediacy, or it could elicit stories about kids’ own memorable family trips.