Storm in the City

It always feels very wrong grumbling about (or even commenting on) the rain in the city in which I live, the mostly bone dry Perth, Western Australia. But until a week ago we were having back-to-back downpours which reminded me to re-borrow this book: Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle, illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Candlewick Press).

This is such a joyful poetic read aloud, an outpouring of words that feel good and sound good to say. It tells the story of a storm rolling in and breaking over a city. Bluemle give us series of vivid snapshots – “See big, big fellow with tiny umbrella. It’s yellow.” – punctuated by the repeated join-in-able refrain of “Tap TAP BOOM BOOM”.

Everyone flees into the subway for shelter and the storm creates a fleeting gathering and impromptu camaraderie. “Downstairs we wait. Folks congregate.” (This book’s a great one for introducing the odd unfamiliar word, whilst remaining totally accessible.) 

The illustrations which collage photographs with hand drawn characters and details are joyous too, especially the spread where everyone emerges at street level to be greeted by a rainbow. The book is both a fun sonic journey and an emotional one. You get to share the lightness and relief which follows the storm’s mood-altering chaos. Who could ask for more than that?

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