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by W. Nikola-Lisa, Michael Hays (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Two children watch as a storm descends suddenly on a summer afternoon, then swirls away as quickly as it came. This quietly effective prose poem evokes the sights and sounds of the gathering gale (``Blue sky darkened. Lightning in the hills.''), captures the children's excitement and a slight frisson of danger at the potential destruction (``the farmer stares from his window as water races past his newly planted seed''). But soon the storm passes, becoming ``just a lace skirt draped over the distant mountain rise.'' The precise, delicately phrased observations are well served by Hays's veiled artwork, which seems to glow from within. Textured clouds of deep blues and purples gradually become shot though with shafts of golden sunlight, imparting a clean, shimmering air to the summer squall. Unusual colorations add interest to this slight but satisfying collaboration. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-- A storm coming in from the hills is portrayed with beauty and strength in a series of images culminating in more poem than story. A family looks on as the clouds roll over their fields, and their watchful reverence is striking in both text and illustration. Cows in the wet pasture, birds huddled in their nest, and newly planted seed absorbing the rain are all viewed by the children and their father from the barn and farmhouse windows. This creates an intensity and an immediacy uncommon in picture books, particularly those that share this one's simplicity. Hays's paintings effectively suggest the weather's texture and mood. The scenes appear thick with humidity; then the storm comes with a magnificence that is both quiet and brilliant. As in the artist's work for Karen Ackerman's The Tin Heart (Atheneum, 1990), facial closeups draw readers into the pages and simultaneously kindle their emotions. Children who aren't used to reacting to nature with their whole hearts will be introduced to a new perspective through this book. --Liza Bliss, Worcester Public Library, Salem Square, MA
Quraysh Ali
A storm rolls through a solemn countryside, and two farm children find themselves fascinated. Hays' grainy-textured double-page spreads, done in acrylics, caress Nikola-Lisa's easy, descriptive text from the approach of the storm to gloomy downpour to the return of bright sunshine. Nikola-Lisa spins both mystery and magic in the gentle story line ("The wind is whipping through the trees. / The rain is bouncing off the ground. / The world is dark and wet outside. / Suddenly the storm is all around"). The combination is a sensual offering of life-changing subtlety. A brief onomatopoetic thunder and lightning symphony will provide word fun for younger children.

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
10.35(w) x 8.33(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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