Author: Walter Wangerin, Jr.
Illustrator: Gerardo Suzan
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress
Audience: Children ages 5-8* (*Parent/Educator who uses the book needs to be aware that personification is used so that the children do not get the impression that the sun, wind, rain, and clouds talk)
Summary: This book was written to be read to a child as a way to both celebrate and remember the child’s baptism. The rejoicing of creation at the baptism of a child is celebrated by the sun, wind, rain, and cloud through the use of personification. The story illustrates an infant baptism and points out that we are all a part of God’s family. The author concludes the book by giving parents tips on how to talk to a child about the meaning of baptism. Relevant scripture is included to go along with the four personified aspects of creation that are written about in the book.
Literary elements at work in the story: The primary literary element used in this story is personification. The wind, rain, sun, and cloud are each given faces and “speak” to the reader about how creation is rejoicing in a child’s baptism.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic ability: The illustrations of the people as the child is baptized near the end of the story show a single African American. All of the others including angels appear to be Caucasian. I believe that the final two illustrations would have better suited the author’s words if they had shown people from a variety of cultures since the author uses the words “all of us, now, on earth, and in heaven”. Although I do believe that author had very good intentions of creating a book to celebrate baptism, there are some points in it that can be misleading to a child. Therefore a parent/educator should use some caution when choosing this book. Following are examples of what could be misunderstood text. The sun and cloud are portrayed as being brother and sister as if they were human beings. When a rainbow appears in the story the author writes that “whenever you see it, that rainbow’s a sign that God is with you.” A child could take this to mean that God is only “with” him/her when a rainbow can be seen. The author speaks of the child who is baptized being “washed clean of the devil and clean of sin.” A child may hear these words and think that the devil was literally inside him/her. Those who do read this book need to be aware of the fact that some of the text could definitely be misunderstood by a child.
Scripture: Romans 6:1-4, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Romans 8:16-17
Theology: Through baptism into Christ’s death, we walk in the newness of life. We are baptized into one body. We are children of God and heirs of Christ.
Faith Talk Questions:
- What happens when you are baptized?
- Why do you think that water is used in baptism?
- What do you think the author means when he says that at baptism “the Word made you new”?
- What do you think it means to be a beloved child of God?
- What does the author mean when he says that at baptism the “cross of Christ” is upon your forehead?
- Why do you think that babies are baptized in the church?
Review prepared by Union-PSCE alumna Marcia A. Rauch
Water, Come Down! by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.