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How to Find a Rainbow

Authored by Alom Shaha
Illustrated by Sarthak Sinha
Published by Scribe Publications

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How to Find a Rainbow is an illustrated tale of Reena and Rekha, two red panda sisters, as they search for a rainbow in the gloomy rain of the Himalayan forest to brighten their day.

Reena hates dark, rainy days as she prefers to be outside painting bright and colourful scenes. On the other hand, her younger sister Rekha enjoys the different sensations the rain brings, as well as the chance to explore while others stay in to keep dry. As she splashes in the outdoors, Rekha catches sight of a rainbow and rushes to share her find with Reena, knowing that it is something she will want to paint. Carrying Reena’s painting supplies and their mother’s big umbrella, the young pandas go back to the spot, only to find the rainbow has disappeared in the gloom. They wander through different terrain, occasionally catching a glimpse of the colourful feature each time the sun comes out but never quite getting a good view. Eventually they realise the conditions needed to ‘catch’ the rainbow: the sun needs to be behind them and the rain in front for the light to reflect off the water. With Rekha’s help, Reena is able to capture the colours in her painting before the rain stops for the day. The sisters go home, knowing from this point on they will always be able to find the rainbow each time the sun appears when it rains.

Throughout the text, the muted illustrations are engaging and convey the way scenery can seem blurred on a rainy day. There is some focus on the sibling relationship between the anthropomorphised pandas, but the plot mainly revolves around the environment and weather conditions as the characters move from place to place. The text is split into narration and speech, indicated by the use of different fonts and single speech marks. The language is not difficult to understand but it is not written in a simplistic way either, which may make it challenging for emergent readers to tackle alone. At the very end of the story, there are instructions for an experiment to make your own rainbow using a garden hose, reinforcing the STEM message woven throughout about the conditions needed for this natural phenomenon.

Appropriate for children aged 3-5 years old, this would be a suitable book for 1:1 reading or as a class story, where the different aspects of the story such as the illustrations, geographical features and scientific accuracy can be discussed in detail.