Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ohio Thunder

Ohio Thunder

Denise Dowling Mortensen
Illustrator:  Kate Kiesler 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Clarion, 2006   ISBN: 978-0618595426

We are on a farm in Ohio on a hot summer's day. The "cornstalks rustle" as blackbirds swoop over the fields. Two boys look up from their labors to see that a big storm cloud is building up in the distance. Closer and closer the storm comes, a "black wall" of cloud. Then lightning strikes, hitting the ground not far from where they are standing and the boys and their dog run for the barn as thunder rumbles towards them.

The boy's father gets off his tractor and joins them in the barn. He gets there just in time for soon wind, rain and even hail fills the air.

Sometimes, on a hot day in summer, a powerful storm arrives quite suddenly and the show can be quite spectacular to listen to and watch. Then, once the storm is passed, the air is cooler and fresher and the world seems cleaner and newer than before. This is a beautifully written portrait of just such a storm. In short rhyming lines which are packed imagery, the author builds up the excitement just as the storm itself builds, and when it is all over she returns to the calm of the pastoral scene and the promise of what is to come.