Review: Thunderstorm by Arthur Geisert


Thunderstorm by Arthur Geisert

Geisert leaves behind his signature little pigs and instead tells the story of a storm rolling through the Midwest.  Follow the course of a red truck filled with sacks and bales of hay as they race the storm to get unloaded in a variety of places.  As the sky darkens, readers also get a glimpse of animal life both above and below ground.  The wind stirs and then roars, a funnel cloud forms and threatens destruction until the wind lowers and the sky clears and it is time to start cleaning up. 

Geisert tells his story with the only words being timestamps below some of the images.  His art is filled with details that make one linger and wonder.  He changes lighting and feeling with tightness of line and colors.  What is most fascinating about the book is that all of the illustrations fit together into one long illustration without any breaks.  It makes me wish that the book unfolded so that I could see it as one long line, but it is very interesting to look at the book in a new way, viewing it differently on a second reading. 

This is a celebration of the power of nature and the way that light changes through the course of a storm.  Geisert mixes in plenty of action and the tension of a family at risk.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Enchanted Lion Books.

Review: A Splash of Red by Jen Bryant

splash of red

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Born in 1888, Horace Pippin loved to draw from the time he was a small child.  He would draw on scrap paper using charcoal, he would draw for his friends, and he would even draw on his spelling tests though his teacher did not appreciate that.  As he grew, he had to quit school in 8th grade.  He worked hard with his hands in different ways, but continued to draw and paint.  Then Horace went to war and was wounded in his right arm.  Now he could no longer draw, or so he thought.  He started trying again with a poker and using his other hand to steady himself.  As he grew stronger, he drew more and more.  Eventually, he gained the attention of people like N. C. Wyeth, who helped put together his first art show.  Pippin’s life that was filled with hardships and obstacles serves as inspiration for young artists.

Bryant and Sweet  collaborated before with Caldecott Honor results.  This picture book biography of an important but lesser known African-American artist shows the power of art in one’s life and how it is impossible to stop seeing and communicating the world through art once you begin.  Bryant writes with a solidity that is lovely.  Incorporating Pippin’s own words from letters, she captures the life of this artist and how he came to be recognized for his work.

Sweet too weaves Pippin’s words into her art.  Her use of collage truly builds Pippin’s world before readers’ eyes.  My favorite image in the book is Pippin as a young boy sitting and drawing on piles of papers.  It captures the intensity with which he created art even at such a young age.  This intensity continues through his story to after he is wounded and the determination that is apparent in just his hands. 

Another very successful collaboration of these two masters, this biographical picture book should serve as its own splash of red on every library’s shelves.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts this week that you might find interesting:

Ordinary Books Transformed into Charming Little Buildings - My Modern Metropolis


An Interview with Marcus Sedgwick | Federation of Children’s Book Groups

Jarrett J. Krosoczka: How a boy became an artist |


At A Pakistani Mobile Library, Kids Can Check Out Books, And Hope : NPR

Free book boxes keep fiction afloat outside waterlogged libraries • Brooklyn Daily

The Future of Libraries Infographic | Fluency21

Latest Study: A full-time school librarian makes a critical difference in boosting student achievement | SLJ

Libraries offer weird things to draw new borrowers – loving the seed library idea which La Crosse is also doing –

New ‘Subway Libraries’ Encourages Commuters To Read On-The-Go –

Required Reading: 6 Indispensable Library Technology Blogs | StateTech Magazine


Disney’s Hyperion will reportedly sell off most of its titles, focus on TV-related books — paidContent


Boris Diodorov "Winnie the Pooh..."

LitWorld – World Read Aloud Day

Pass / Fail : How often do you read to your child? New study says: Step it up! | 89.3 KPCC

Repetitive reading helps kids learn – NZ Herald News

World Book Day: Philip Reeve on why we treasure reading – Telegraph


Google Glass: is it a threat to our privacy? | Technology|The Guardian