What we’re reading: How Do You Make A Rainbow? by Caroline Crowe and Cally Johnson-Isaacs

There’s no better way to shake off your blues on a gloomy day than seeing a rainbow spread across the sky.

They are so fleeting and they can’t be faked – no wonder we remain drawn to them as much in adulthood as we did as kids.

A rainbow that cheered up the sky on a cold and gloomy lockdown morning last month.

The symbolism of the rainbow has taken on extra significance this last year and we joined countless families across the country creating them to put in our windows in support our key workers and to show solidarity with friends and strangers.

We even bought the youngest a Grimms Rainbow for his first birthday present while my mum made the boys little cross-stitch ones as a gift while we were apart.

All this makes How Do You Make A Rainbow? an especially joyful book to share with your child, with its themes of hope, community, positivity and family.

The story starts with a little girl asking her grandfather to help her paint a rainbow on the grey and rainy sky, but he explains that there’s a special recipe to make one.

Through Caroline Crowe’s lilting rhyming text, we follow the pair through the different ways you can create rainbows in your life.

There’s love for family and friends, planting trees and caring for the oceans, right through to jam on toast, singing songs together and making someone laugh. All those little things that have kept us going during this last year when the boundaries of daily life have narrowed while our worries have been big.

The illustrations by Cally Johnson-Isaacs are charming and we love how the spreads have a different colour theme to take you through the rainbow. There’s also a diversity within the cast of characters and lovely touches like the grandfather wearing a tutu with the girl.

Naturally by the time the duo have filled their hearts and minds with joyful things, the clouds have lifted and the sky is painted with a reassuring rainbow after all.

The final few pages are left for your child to express their own feelings, an outlet they need now more than ever. There are little colour-themed boxes with suggestions of topics so they can draw their own pictures or stick ones in.

It’s a clever touch and makes this so much more than a sweet picture book, but a wonderful tool to raise spirits across the generations at these most trying of times.

While there is a natural link in our language between colours and feelings – seeing red, feeling blue – the book focuses on the positive side of colour rather than making certain ones feel less happy than others.

So How Do You Make A Rainbow? By reading this book!

How Do You Make A Rainbow? by Caroline Crowe and Cally Johnson-Isaacs is out now. £6.99 (paperback), Macmillan. Buy from Amazon

You may also like…
10 of the best picture books about love
Activities for kids: Read a Rainbow
Review: Britta Teckentrup’s peep-through nature books

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