The Little Girl and the Rain; A Piece of Art for Kids

Once upon a time there was a little girl and a summer rain … This is the story of a very special book for children that was published by Albatros 43 years ago.

The Little Girl and the Rain
“It was the little girl, dressed for the rain.”
A teaser from the Polish version of the book.
See more illustrations.

A yellow raincoat, red wellington boots and playing tag with the rain. What a pleasure to read this book in hot summer days!

The Little Girl and the Rain from Milena Lukešová and Jan Kudláček tells a story about a girl who met the rain in the silent streets of a nameless town. Poetic bilderbuch full of raindrops became known by children all around the world.

A Special Author, A Special Book

It was in 1922, Milena Lukešová was born in railwayman’s family. She studied philology and worked as an editor at publishing houses, focused on books for pre-schoolers. She understood the child’s soul very well and she also knew a lot about children’s literature.

No wonder that her and Kudláček’s charming book The Little Girl and the Rain became very popular. It’s still cherished and adored by Czechs and Slovaks as a darling book but it was also published in English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Polish, and other languages.

The Little Girl and the Rain
The Little Girl and the Rain. (Dziewczynka i deszcz in Polish.)
Written by M. Lukešová, illustrated by J. Kudláček. Albatros, 1974.

Now the book is known worldwide. How is it possible that it’s so popular? The author clearly found out through observation what children desire and what interests them. She wanted to pretend nothing and so she gave children a real piece of art – poetic text and charming illustrations.

Recently, in an interview for Czech Radio, the author’s son Igor Lukeš reminisced: “My mother had a peculiar character, she never lost her childlike amazement of the world. Children felt that those books were written by someone who was close to them, someone who was one of them.”

The Little Girl and the Rain

Milena Lukešová co-operated with many amazing Czechoslovakian illustrators who became masters in their field of activity. With Jan Kudláček she created a series of books for novice readers. For example, The Little Girl and the Rain together with three another books (The Stork, Jakub and the Indian Summer and The White Winter) symbolize the four seasons.

Today it’s rather difficult to get hold of the once very popular bilderbuch. It’s been several years since they stopped printing them. The chief editor of the publishing house Albatros Petr Eliáš has stated, that in the future they would like to release at least one of the books if it’s at all possible. For now bookworms have no choice but to search for these books in antique bookshops. But it has its charm, anyway.

The Little Girl and the Rain (4+)
Written by Milena Lukešová, illustrated by Jan Kudláček
Published by Czech publishing house Albatros, 1974
36 pages, hardcover

A slightly changed version of the article was published in Little Green Talks Magazine.

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