Rainy Reads: 10 Picture Books for Rainy Days

The wet days of early Spring have given us ample opportunities to pull out our rain boots and splash in the puddles, search for worms, and hope for a glimpse of a rainbow… and of course READ lots of rain inspired stories. Below are our favorite rainy reads!

picture books about rain

Thundercake by Patricia Polacco. Author Patricia Polacco shares a story inspired by her childhood, when her grandmother helped her overcome her fear of thunderstorms. In this warm picture book, a storm becomes an adventure and a cause to celebrate. I shared this last week at storytime with my 3-5 year olds and they were all enthralled by the excitement of gathering the ingredients around the farm for thundercake before the thunder’s countdown revealed that the storm was overhead. I’ve shared this with the early elementary crowd with similar success.

Blue on Blue by Dianne White. A perfect example of an author and illustrator who complement one another’s work to make a story shine! It’s hard to decide which we love more– the poetic text or the beautiful artwork. The story focuses on a small seaside farm as a storm moves through one afternoon. The effects on the animal and human inhabitants are detailed, describing the way the colors shift throughout the storm’s progression. There are so many details in each illustration that go beyond the text, adding lots of conversation. After falling in love with this one, we launched our own illustrator study of Beth Krommes; we especially enjoyed her Caldecott winner, The House in The Night; Before Morning; and Butterfly Eyes & Other Secrets of the Meadow.

Rain by Peter Spier. Sadly, it looks like this is out of print, but try to grab a copy from your library. It’s worth tracking down! Peter Spier is known for his detailed illustrations that kids love to pore over. This wordless book is no exception. My boys read this endlessly, pointing out new details with each reading. Told in a series of vignettes, it follows to kids who explore their neighborhood in the rain; each vignette encourages bookworms to make inferences about what the kids are doing, where they’re going, and why. It celebrates the small joys found in a simple rainstorm: watching water gush out of the downspout, making muddy footprints, observing wildlife. A wet, fun romp in the rain!  (We also enjoyed Spier’s wordless version of Noah’s Ark, which won the Caldecott Award. Be aware that it expands upon the Biblical text, so Spier brings his own imagination to what it might have been like on the ark.)

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. Way before the movie (which I didn’t have the heart to watch), there was the picture book. A hit since its publication in 1982, my bookworms loved the idea of food falling from the sky and thought this book was so much fun! (It also led us to a discussion of manna and contentment.)

Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems. You can’t go wrong with Elephant & Piggie! Their friendship weathers the rain beautifully in this installment as Gerald cleverly saves the day when Piggie melts down upon seeing the rain ruining all of her plans.

Float by Daniel Miyares. It’s remarkable what a talented artist can do with five colors and no words. This wordless book communicates strong emotion felt by a little boy during a simple afternoon. A rain storm and a paper boat make for a beautiful “small moment” tale. Endpapers include diagrams for creating a paper boat and airplane.

Move Over, Rover by Karen Beaumont. Winner of the Geisel Honor, this is a cumulative tale (patterned text that builds & repeats with each page). The predictable text makes this perfect for early readers and the youngest bookworms. Similar to the folktale The Mitten, a variety of animals attempt to find shelter from the elements, this time in Rover’s doghouse.

A few more great books that take place during a rainy day:

Mr. Gumpy’s Motor Car– the classic from 1976, in which a car-full of animals gets stuck in the mud during a rain storm and everyone has an excuse for why they can’t help unstuck the car;

Pete’s a Pizza– another classic, in which Pete’s father cheers him up by making him into a pizza to take his mind off of the disappointment of being cooped up inside during a rainy day;

Last Stop on Market Street– recent winner of BOTH the Caldecott Honor and Newbery Award, in which a young boy laments to his nana throughout his travels across town, each complaint met with positive encouragement from Nana to see the hidden beauty in their routine.

Books in this post should be readily available at your local library, or at the affiliate links provided. Thanks for supporting the blog if you choose to purchase! 

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