Thursday, December 31, 2015

Rain for Christmas by Richard Tulloch illustrated by Wayne Harris

Even though Christmas is now past I wanted to mention Rain for Christmas because all around the world our news has been dominated by catastrophic weather events.  Here in Australia we lurch from drought to flood, from wild thunder storms to bushfires. This is best captured by the famous poet Dorothea Mackellar in the second verse of her poem My Country.

I love a sunburnt country, 
A land of sweeping plains, 
Of ragged mountain ranges, 
Of droughts and flooding rains. 
I love her far horizons, 
I love her jewel-sea, 
Her beauty and her terror 
The wide brown land for me!

Rain for Christmas takes this theme of drought which Dorothea Mackellar explains in the fifth verse of her poem.

Core of my heart, my country! 
Her pitiless blue sky, 
When, sick at heart, around us 
We see the cattle die 
But then the grey clouds gather, 
And we can bless again 
The drumming of an army, 
The steady soaking rain.

As this story opens Sally is writing her annual Christmas letter to Santa.  She asks for a long list of special gifts including a little boat to sail in the rock pool in the creek near her outback home.  While this is a lovely idea Sally knows she will not be able to sail her boat.  "The creek had no water and the rock pool was nothing but a patch of sticky mud."  Sally sees the bush animals have come close to the house in the hope of some water.  You can see them gathering near the water tank in the illustration below.

Sally re-writes her Christmas letter.

Dear Santa.
I don't want any presents this year, but please, please, please could you make it rain on Christmas Day?
Your friend Sally.

Just as Santa is about to set off from the North Pole he sees Sally's letter in the snow.  He is puzzled at first but then he has a splendid idea.  "We can take a giant snowball to Australia!"

This is an old book first published in 1989 but you might be lucky and find a copy in your library. Please don't wait until next Christmas - this book is worth hunting for now.

Richard Tulloch uses a brilliant word in this book and I will use it to sum up Rain for Christmas :


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They made this into a tv show, using puppets. I remember it so well, as my dad filmed it. Really wish I still had my copy. I've still got this book floating around somewhere. Beautiful story.