April 24, 2017

Module 13 Graphic Novels and Series Books

Book Cover:

Book Summary:
During the Great Depression Jack and his family are having problems. Jack's sister is sick, he is getting picked on, his dad is upset with him, and there has not been any rain. Jack does battle with a rain monster in the barn (did it really happen or is it dust dementia?) and finally it rains.

APA Reference of Book:

Phelan, M. (2011). The storm in the barn. Somerville, Mass: Candlewick.

The washed out watercolors of brown, black, grey, orange, and very rarely red help you envision that you are in the past. There is very little text which also gets across the sparseness of the times. Despite that you can follow what is going on. The battle between good and evil is a little dark so I wouldn't recommend this for younger readers. I really liked how this really captured the despaire and feelings of this time in history.

Professional Review:
Gr 5-7--It is 1937 in Kansas, during the Dust Bowl, and 11-year-old Jack can barely remember a world with plentiful water and crops. Unable to help his father with a harvest that isn't there, and bullied by the other boys his age, he feels like a useless baby. Stories offer a refuge, and there are multiple stories in this work. Jack's mother tells about the time when the land was a fertile "paradise." Jack's invalid sister, Dorothy, is readingThe Wizard of Oz, gaining inspiration from the adventures of another Kansan of the same name. Jack's friend comforts him with folktales about a brave man named Jack who masters nature, battling the King of the West Wind, the King of Blizzards, and the King of the Northeast Winds. In the end, Phelan turns the Dust Bowl into another one of Ernie's "Jack" tales when the real Jack encounters the Storm King in an abandoned barn and finds out that he has been holding back the rain. The boy must then gather the strength to determine his own narrative, as well as his parched town's future. Children can read this as a work of historical fiction, a piece of folklore, a scary story, a graphic novel, or all four. Written with simple, direct language, it's an almost wordless book: the illustrations' shadowy grays and blurry lines eloquently depict the haze of the dust. A complex but accessible and fascinating book.

By Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Goldstein, L. (2009). The Storm in the Barn. School Library Journal, 55(9), 190.

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