Anna Grossnickle Hines                                                                   Home       Guide
The Story Behind
What Can You Do
in the Rain...Sun...Wind...or Snow?
by Anna Grossnickle Hines           Illustrated by Thea Kliros
Book jackets copyright 1999 Thea Kliros with permission of Greenwillow Books

The story behind the What Can You Do books is just about as simple as the books themselves.  It occurred to me that it might be fun to do a book about exploring various kinds of weather.  As I brainstormed the possibilities I realized that I was including lots of sensory experiences as well as actions and tried to include even more of those for each sort of weather.  Then I decided it would be fun if each weather condition had it's own book.  That meant I needed not just one good ending but four.  That was the hardest part.. I spent several weeks thinking and making notes and, of course, wrote several versions before I decided I had the most varied and fun possibilities, with just the right one-word ending for each book.

While I was writing these books I was working on the illustrations for the Bean books, and was thinking of using that same graphic style for these books.  But when I sent my dummies to Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow, who had not seen Bean yet, she felt something different was called for in these four little books.  She contracted Thea Kliros to do the art.  From the beginning I pictured a variety of children doing the various things, just as Thea has done, and although some of the children are a bit older than I would like, they are wonderfully lively, adorable, and enthusiastic.  Thea's illustrations are engaging, charming and full of energy.

These four little books were selected by the Philadelphia Reading Round Table as their Book of the Month for September 1999.

The four have also been selected best "Touch and Feel" books of the year for zero to three year olds by the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia.

What Can You Do in the Rain? was selected by Child Magazine for their Best Books of the Year List.

Published by Greenwillow Books, April 1999

What Can You Do in the RAIN
What Can You Do in the WIND? 
What Can You Do in the SNOW? 
What Can You Do in the SUN? 

These toddler sized board books feature watercolor paintings of multicultural children splashing in puddles, building snowmen, flying kites and engaging in other weather appropriate activities. The text is kept to a bare minimum, using a one-, two-, or three-word sentence per double page spread to describe things to do in each milieu. Matching the simplicity of the narratives, the paintings show a child or two, a cat or a dog, and a touch of background scenery. The rhythm of the sentences--"Hear it patter"; "Watch it fall"--will appeal to young listeners. Both words and pictures allow them to experience the world through all of their senses, e.g., by tasting the rain, watching clouds, feeling sand between the toes, and listening to the wind sing. Perfect introductions to the joys of reading.--
Dawn Amsberry, School Library Journal, June 1999

What Can You Do in the Rain?  Every season has its weather and children see the fun, not the obstacles, in rain or snow or wind. This board book shows children interacting with the rain whether they're inside or out. The first page shows a little girl, her teddy bear and a kitten all listening to the patter of rain on a window. Thea Kliros' watercolors seem perfect for this book (other books in the series feature different seasons) because of the effect they have on the pages themselves. Anna Grossnickle Hines' young children have no problems with mud and splashing, of course, and they find the possibilities in even the smallest puddle.
Mary Harris Russell, Chicago Tribune, March 21, 1999

For a young preschooler, a change in the weather transforms the world.These active board books will draw kids in to look, feel, hear, touch, move about, and fully experience the rain and sun. In the rain, hear it patter, feel it fall, mix a mudpie. In the sun, make a shadow, take your shoes off, feel the glow, etc. Each clear, colorful spread shows one action at a time, and each book shows a diverse group of boys and girls having a great time outdoors. The physicalness of the words suggests the sense; the pictures celebrate the elemental fun; children will want to copy and talk about what the pages show. The two companion board books--What Can You Do in the Snow?and What Can You Do in the Wind?--have the same direct appeal.
Hazel Rochman, Booklist, June 1, 1999

A series of board books  invites kids to revel in the weather: the suggestions in What Can You Do in the Wind? include watching clouds, spinning a pinwheel and waving a flag.
Publishers Weekly, April 12, 1999

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