In his children's book debut, Tunnell tells of the great, hot winds that tear through the winter countryside of the Pacific Northwest. A brother and sister recently moved to that region meet Andrew Delaney McFadden, an eccentric old man who is bracing himself for the return of the great Chinook that turned his community upside-down 50 years earlier. In a rather labored exposition, the man tells the wide-eyed children what a Chinook is and recounts the havoc the great gale wreaked on the town. Unfortunately, Tunnell's story, with its absence of a directed narrative and fleshed-out characters, is little more than a series of loosely connected tall tales. Even the somewhat predictable ``surprise'' ending, in which the long-awaited Chinook is seen rolling into town once more, fails to satisfy. Root's ( The Araboolies of Liberty Street ; The Singing Fir Tree ) peppy watercolors--an agreeable stylistic departure for this talented artist--provide a polished chromatic shift between winter's blue and white landscape and the golds of the Chinook-parched earth. Such whimsically surreal images as a horse-drawn sleigh ``sailing'' gaily through a flooded village add needed sparkle. Ages 5-up. (Mar.)
Gr 1-3-- A nostalgic reminiscence with a tall-tale flavor. Tunnell's quirky story begins with two young children, newly moved to a rural area in the West, but quickly switches to a series of exaggerated recollections recounted by a friendly local. The brief vignettes offered by ``Mr. Andy'' describe the effects of ``granddaddy chinooks'': winds so hot that they can melt snow and confuse the seasons. While some of the events depicted are humorous, others are somewhat disturbing. The vision (and picture) of horses hanging from a church steeple, for example, is extremely graphic and unappealing. For the most part, though, Root's illustrations are vigorous and amusing, with a primitive feel that suits the colloquial flavor of the text perfectly. Unfortunately, although Tunnell's text is smoothly written, the unfamiliarity of the phenomenon described, combined with the distinctly old-fashioned tone of the tale, may serve to distance young readers. For these reasons, despite the quality of both illustrations and text, the book may have only a limited regional appeal. --Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
The chinook, or warm winter wind that occurs in northern climates, is the basis for this sprightly tall tale. When Annie and Thad go skating on Lake Turnabout, they're surprised to find Andrew Delaney McFadden (Mr. Andy) ice fishing from a rowboat. He launches into an explanation about chinooks and granddaddy chinooks (which come once every 50 years), noting the wacky complications for people and animals when winter changes to summer in a matter of seconds. Mr. Andy embellishes the consequences with humorous details--sleighs become boats, lakes evaporate instantly, and apple trees become laden with new fruit overnight. The youngsters listen attentively and, after skating, return to high ground just as a steamy cloud appears low over the frozen lake, heralding a chinook. Root's colored drawings illustrate the changing weather patterns with whimsical force, dramatically seizing the action. Tunnell's easy prose is neatly complemented by the pictures, many in savory earth tones, whether the landscape sports high snow drifts, flooded areas, or parched earth. Few tall tales focus so intently on the weather, and this one, with its flamboyant shift from winter to summer, radiates a gentle warmth.