Friends are a lot like books, I think.

They can cheer you on dreary days.

They can help you see things from a different angle.

They can make a long journey feel short.

They can make you remember things long forgotten.

They can heal the hurt in your heart.

They can make you believe in your best self.

They can make you want to sing or laugh or do a silly dance.

And sometimes, one can lead to the other…..a friend can introduce you to a book, or….

a book can introduce you to a new friend…

which is how I met –Linda Ashman, acclaimed author of numerous picture books.

In 2007, Linda and I both had books that were finalists in the Colorado Book Awards, and so we met each other at a book event, and became fast friends.  For years we would meet each other for coffee at our local coffee shop.  We’d chat about this and that, about life’s ups and downs and twists and turns. And then, last year, Linda moved from Colorado to North Carolina.

But a few weeks ago, she sent me a copy of her most recent book.  Imagine my delight when I saw that title!

What a treasure – a book all about…RAIN! Look at that reflection in the puddle! I’ve lived in Colorado  now for many years, a high plains desert with about 320 days of SUNSHINE.  Yet, still, I miss my native Scotland where we have about 300 days of RAIN!  How I still miss the smell of rain, the cloudy skies, and puddles – lots and lots of puddles!

RAIN reminds me of long ago days in Scotland, where I jumped in many a puddle wearing my wellingtons and….my little rainmate. (yes – believe it or not, back in those days, girls carried in their pockets, a sort of little plastic bag, folded like a concertina with two little straps on each side.  When it rained, you pulled it out, tugged it open and fastened it over your head to keep your hair dry – it was your “friend” in the rain – your “rain mate.”)

But this book is more than just a delightful romp in the rain, more than an
ode to soggy days; it is a perfect example of one of my favorite quotes
from Marcus Aurelius “The color of your thought dyes your soul.”  Through
humorous pictures and spare text, we see how RAIN affects an old man
and a young child in totally different ways, and we see how one little
person can spread sunshine even on the rainiest of days!

And of course, being the kind of friend that she is, Linda dedicated the book to me!  Like all good friends, she knows a little about my heart – that I love the rain and still miss it even after all these years.

This is a clever, tender book that you will want to read with a little one – but be warned – when you are finished, you will definitely want to run outside and jump in the biggest puddle you can find!

Here’s to RAIN, PUDDLES, and….

Thanks, Linda!