Rain by Manya Stojic, published by Pavillion

As our younger daughter approaches six months old, we and our three year old have enjoyed watching as she discovers the world around her – seeing new colours, feeling the wind in her hair, or tickling her toes on a blanket.

The five senses are the structure for Manya Stojic’s wonderful debut picturebook ‘Rain’, which depicts the arrival of a monsoon in the hot and dusty Savannah.

The story begins with the dry, cracked ground, illustrated by broad terracotta brushstrokes and the words “It was hot”. A porcupine is sniffing around the desert’s barren expanse. Suddenly he smells it: Rain. He must tell the zebra.

Lightening bolts flash across the page and the zebra take flight. They can hear the rain, while the monkeys can see it and the rhinos can feel it. The lion purrs and declares that as well as all these sensations, this King of the jungle can taste it too.

The rain arrives and it truly pours, and the pages become awash with blues and greys. When it stops the animals all reflect on how they can no longer directly sense the rain, but they can benefit from its lasting effects – the shade of the leaves it helped grow, the squelch of the mud it helped cool, the quench of the rainwater now filling the lake.

The book ends after the rain has gone, disappearing as quickly as it arrived. It is soon hot again, and a tiny crack appears in the dried out mud.

Rain is a perfect choice for learning about the senses, and also conveys subtle but important messages about the preciousness of water and its impact on nature’s delicate balance.