- Soaked! by Abi Cushman
Cushman, Abi Soaked!; written and illus. by Abi Cushman. Viking, 2020 [40p] Trade ed. ISBN 9781984836625 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9781984836632 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys R 3-6 yrs
Grumpy Bear is displeased with the rain, as it impedes "all the things that bears love": ice cream cones, sandcastles, and cashmere sweaters. Waiting it out in his cave just means being packed in with Badger, Bunny, and a Hula-Hooping Moose. While he's sulking in the rain, a Hula-Hoop lands around his neck, and Bear gradually discovers he likes it; soon the other animals join splashily in the play until "everyone is SOAKED." Naturally, when the sun comes back out, Bear again finds fault: it's "too sunny." This readaloud is a teasing love letter to rainy days, as Cushman's dreary colors against a nature backdrop evoke the mood of gloomy weather, with goofy breaks of the color scheme in Bear's (stolen) bumblebee umbrella and Moose's three Hula-Hoops. Bear is hard not to love, as a grump portrayed in words, posture, and expression who won't be satisfied by anything but who has a soft, indulgent side in private. This book would serve well on a rainy day for kids who wish they could be outside splashing in puddles.