Gr 2-4-Ike and his family spend an evening in their basement during a tornado alert. When it is lifted, he fears that another warning will occur in the night, so he secretly watches the weather reports on a portable TV beneath his covers. The next day, Ike falls asleep at school. He feels worse after he stays up a second night, and he falls asleep during his third watch. He wakes in the middle of the night on a cot in the basement and his mother explains that the storm woke them and that she and his father carried him and his sister downstairs. A tornado damages their neighbors' home and yard so the friends move in with Ike's family while repairs are made. Jennings understands the worries of childhood and he portrays Ike as a caring, responsible boy. The text and pacing of this brief novel are ideal for beginning readers who are ready to tackle a longer chapter book with a slightly more complex plot. Alter's black-and-white illustrations provide necessary breaks.-Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
In the second story about these siblings, a tornado warning sends Ike, his parents, and younger sister Mem to the basement. When the all clear is given and everyone goes to bed, Ike is worried that with the TV turned off, they won't know if a tornado is approaching. So he puts the portable TV in bed with him and stays up all night watching movies to be on the alert. The next two nights of tornado watches result in Ike falling asleep at school, sleeping through dinner, and his mother taking him to the doctor. On the fourth night, Ike conks out during his watch and, in fact, a tornado does hit, blowing the roof off his best friend's house next door. He wakes up in the basement, where his parents, obviously on the alert, have taken the family again. An image of the moon as an eye, watching and waiting for Ike to go to sleep adds a nice child-like touch, but it's hard to guess exactly what is intended here. Reassurance? Well, maybe, but a tornado isn't quite so quiet an experience as this. Unfortunately, the pen-and-ink drawings from Alter, who also illustrated the first in the series (The Bird Shadow, 2001), are uninspired and add nothing to the story. The short episode format (no chapter headings) will appeal to the first-chapter set and the third in the series is scheduled for 2003. (Fiction. 7-9)