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Posted November 21, 2013
It's been a while since I read a graphic novel, and even longer
It's been a while since I read a graphic novel, and even longer since I was so deeply impressed by what I read--or saw, in the case of this book. The Storm in the Barn is probably geared towards middle graders, telling the story of an eleven year old boy and his family living on a desolate farm during the Dust Bowl. As an adult, it was captivating. This story has almost no words; this is a story of silences, words unspoken, and fears both spoken and dreamt. The young hero, Jack Clark, must face bullies, a deep sense of failure in meeting his father's expectations, a dust-related illness that leaves his eldest sister bedridden, and a deep sense of hopelessness. That's a lot for a child, and in some ways Jack is older than his years--believably so. He's had to grow up a little too fast, and it shows. But as he begins to uncover the mystery of the presence in the abandoned barn on the next farm over, Jack begins to come into his own. It's a beautiful, gripping story--and a very quick read for adults. Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 22, 2012
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In Kansas in 1937 there wasn¿t much left of the once-hearty crop
In Kansas in 1937 there wasn’t much left of the once-hearty croplandsWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
except dry soil. The soil was so dry that it blew around in the wind,
giving the area the nickname the “Dust Bowl.” People had to abandon
their farmland and homes and travel west in hopes of finding work, food,
and a better life. The dust was choking the life out of them and all
they knew. Into this setting, author/illustrator Matt Phelan places
eleven-year-old Jack Clark in the graphic novel The Storm in the Barn.
One of Jack’s sisters is sick with a terrible cough the doctor calls
“dust pneumonia” and believes Jack may have “dust dementia” due to his
rash actions. Jack starts to believe the doctor when he sees a man-like
being with a face like rain in the neighbor’s abandoned barn. Jack is
scared of what he sees, but he must face his fear if he hopes to save
his family and everyone else from the all-encompassing dust. The story
itself is a great mystery and a hero’s tale of a young boy who gets
beaten down by bullies yet has the strength to face the unknown. But the
story is not the best part of this book. Phelan’s illustrations are
simply amazing. The pencil sketches are beautiful, portraying the dust
in sweeping strokes and the characters’ faces in expressive simplicity.
Phelan can show so much with so few marks on the page. It is because of
the illustrations that this book caught my eye and kept me turning
pages. The silence hits you across the drawings, across the pages, so
you feel like you are in that dry wasteland with nothing but the wind
swirling around you. It doesn’t matter if the reader is interested in
the Great Depression or not—he or she will be engrossed by this awesome
book. Readers who enjoyed Brian Selznick’s works The Invention of Hugo
Cabret and Wonderstruck could love this book as well.
Posted October 19, 2011
Posted January 11, 2010
No text was provided for this review.