After narrating this story, the author leaves us to ponder this question: “Did Hatfield hold some secret formula that caused the clouds to weep?” (p. 103). Brimner tells us that whether Hatfield could indeed produce rain remains a mystery, but what he did produce was hope for people desperate for rain. So, in effect, we can only use available evidence to speculate. Brimner’s bibliography provides us sources for continuing our search for this evidence.
In addition to the intriguing mystery element, this book is beautifully formatted, clearly written, and has many, many large black and white, tinted photographs that can be carefully examined. If you are looking for ideas for using these photographs with students, check out the five-minute video from the New York State Archives on teaching with photographs at http://www.archives.nysed.gov/education/video/teaching-with-photographs.
It was truly a pleasure to read this well-designed, interesting book. I hope that Larry Dane Brimner and Calkins Creek publishers keep these nonfiction books coming.