Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Halls & David Litchfield

Rain Before Rainbows is a heartwarming picture book which offers support and hope at a time when we are all struggling, mentally and physically, with the restrictions imposed on our daily lives. The simple rhyming text and gorgeous illustrations use weather imagery and natural settings to powerfully convey the book’s message – dark days will be replaced by more positive ones and with the support of friends we can get through difficult times.

The Story: After a fire destroys their castle a young girl and a fox go on a challenging journey. During the journey they climb mountains, encounter scary creatures and cross a stormy sea before coming ashore in a land where new animal friends are waiting to help them. They find treasure and plant seeds and when a new day dawns they share their happiness as a rainbow appears.

Despite the challenges of the characters’ journey the easy to read rhyming text reassures the reader that their dark days won’t last forever whilst simultaneously acknowledging that difficult days can create uncertainty and worries. But after battling through storms the girl and the fox reach a place full of light, a place where, physically and mentally, they can find happiness and plan for the future with the support of a new circle of friends.

David Litchfield’s images are magical and even the darker ones contain light – the moon, stars, a flash of lightning. They complement the text perfectly and the dark, more sinister colours at the beginning of the book are replaced by warmer, light colours. We love the ‘treasure to find.’

The warmer colours and the brighter weather have a calming effect and the pink sky shown after the turbulent sea crossing immediately evokes a sense of hope, a sense that everything will be alright.

Rain Before Rainbows is a beautiful book to stimulate discussion about negative feelings and can help demonstrate that even if a child is sad and going through a difficult time, friends and family can help them through it. There are free Rain Before Rainbows activity sheets to download to help support a child after reading the book. 

Smriti Halls and David Litchfield have both written heartfelt notes about creating the book. Smriti hopes the book ‘will bring hope out of heartbreak’. David says, ‘One of my favourite messages this story illustrates is “Hope”‘. They also talk about how the theme now links to the emotions and challenges that we are experiencing due to the pandemic.

We love this book – its message and its fabulous illustrations. During the last year rainbows have become a symbol of hope and this beautiful book does a wonderful job of reflecting that.

Age Range: 3 +

Author: Smriti Halls / Illustrator: David Litchfield

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