Outstanding in the Rain: A Whole Story With Holes by F. Viva
Viva, Frank. Outstanding in the Rain: A Whole Story With Holes. Tundra Books, 2015.
Frank Viva is an illustrator and designer, so design, rather than storyline, is the strength of this work. The illustrations are a simple, retro-modern, cartoon-like style. Viva uses a palette of five tints: blue, yellow, red, brown, and white. This gives Outstanding in the Rain a “vintage” look.
This children’s picture book is a collection of oronyms, words or phrases that sound the same but have different meanings, woven into a simple story about a boy’s trip to the amusement park. For each oronym pair, Viva incorporates a die-cut hole into the text. Words from the following page are shown as part of the sentence of the page being read. When you flip the page, the die-cut reveals a different picture and the second part of the oronym is also revealed. For example, the words “night rain” in the phrase “The night rain is just beginning to fall” turn into “night train” in the text of next page, “The night train is coming-I hear its call”. The combination of die-cuts, oronyms, and rhyme is complex and clever. Even the title and subtitle, “Outstanding in the rain” and “A whole story with holes”, both include plays on words.
Children will have fun playing with the words in the same way that Viva has played with them. This book would be a great tool for teachers to introduce having fun with language, specifically oronyms. Upper elementary children would have the most fun with the double meanings, but even adults would enjoy this book.
Highly recommended: 4 stars out of 4
Reviewer: Stephanie Borle
Stephanie Borle is a University of Alberta student of linguistics who enjoys working with children and new immigrants. She spent a year teaching English as a Second Language in Japan to kindergarten and junior high school students.
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