Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl

David Booth
Illustrator:  Karen Reczuch 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Kids Can Press, 1996   ISBN: 978-1550742954

There is dust in Matthew’s cereal bowl again. Indeed there is dust on everything. Outside Mama’s garden struggles to survive in ground that is dried out from lack of rain. There is little growing in the fields and Mathew’s father thinks it is time to sell the farm and move on. Matthew’s grandfather is not ready to give up though. He tells Matthew all about a time many years ago when the drought was far worse.

In those days, the drought had been going on for so long that the ground was baked dry. There were terrible wind storms which blew away the dry soil and made the air so full of dust that it was hard to breath. The soil was blown into drifts like snow and many of the families couldn’t take it anymore and they moved away. Grandpa and his wife did not give up though. They waited and waited and eventually it rained again and the farm came back to life.

Matthew’s grandfather’s account of his family’s struggle in the days of the Great Depression is sobering. It is hard to imagine how anyone was able to bear such hardship and yet thousands did. We are reminded that farming is a hard way of life and that there are no guarantees when one has to depend on the good graces of Mother Nature.

With a text rich with imagery and soft richly detailed illustrations, this picture book tells a powerful story.