Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Darleen Bailey Beard
Illustrator:  Nancy Carpenter 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003   ISBN: 978-0374480141

Lucille and her brother Natt are sitting on the front porch swing. It is a hot summer's day and they are eating popsicles. The children are giving each other wheelbarrow rides when a storm blows in. The children run for the trailer where they live and watch as lightning strikes and rain falls all around them. Then the power goes off and the children sit in the dark with their mother. As they look out of the window they see one of the clouds above them reach "its tail" down to the earth. It's a twister!

Quickly Mama and the children run for the cellar but then Mama leaves them to check on a neighbor. So now Natt and Lucille are on their own, in the dark. They hear all kinds of noises outside and they keep wondering when Mama will be back and if Daddy is all right where he is. Lucille does her best to keep Natt distracted but when the twister passes right over their heads the children cling to one another and desperately hold onto the chain which keeps the cellar door closed. Is Mama all right out there?

For those of us who have never experienced a tornado at close quarters, this little story will help us appreciate how terrifying those swirling winds can be. The wonderfully written story, told from Lucille?s point of view, not only captures the fear that she experiences but also the relief she feels when the ordeal is over and when she realizes how lucky she and her family are to be safe. Atmospheric pastel illustrations perfectly show the difference between the children's world before the storm and how things look and feel when the storm is raging all about them.