A family is on its way home in the pouring rain – Mum, Francie , and Baby Sister. Their little red car must battle through the downpour keeping the little group warm and dry while outside the rest of the world is drips. But what will they call Baby Sister who is still a bump? Can they decide before Dad gets home?
A new picture book from Bob Graham is always a treat. This is no exception. As usual he takes a small everyday incident and shines the spotlight on it. We feel the connection between Francie and her Mum, the love that links them to Grandma in her house, to Dad out at sea – and the real presence of a baby still to be born. We are safe and warm in the little car, while outside the rain drums down. We feel the hard drops as they hit the waters of the canal, we shiver with the baby rabbit soaking in the grass and Marcus wishing he was at home. Graham creates the atmosphere not through excessive description; his prose is quiet, low key. Rather it is his illustrations that draw us in. The rain streaks across the pages, the water sprays out from under the traffic wheels. Above all there are the details, the different perspectives, nothing is forgotten. Who else could capture the anxiety, the excitement and the joy of a little girl finding a name for a sister, yet to be born. For those who wonder where the name comes from look at the quotation with which Graham prefaces his story. Exceptional.