I'm not one of those readers that often sits down and enjoys a good graphic novel. They just aren't books I'm typically drawn too, as I think I prefer more text to illustrations. Unless of course, the text AND the illustrations are done by Matt Phelan, famed illustrator of the Newbery winner The Higher Power of Lucky, among other things. I'm a huge fan of his work and when this beautifully covered book showed up in my mailbox, I knew it was one graphic novel I would be picking up quickly.
The Storm in the Barn gives the reader a thrilling historical fiction story, set in the Dust Bowl in 1937. Our main character is a young boy named Jack who is facing a tough, though somewhat typical life for a boy of his age. He has some bullies on his back and his dad is a bit overbearing with pretty high expectations that Jack can just never seem to meet.
In an old barn, Jack starts seeing things, well rather, a man with a face like rain. He knows it sounds crazy and starts to blame it on "dust dementia" and the lack of rain, believing he couldn't really be seeing a rain-faced being in the barn. As the story progresses, even the reader is somewhat unsure of what Jack is seeing. Could it really be a ghostly figure? Or is it a bit of craziness running rampant along with the terrible dust?
We are given a suspenseful and nicely written story that will pull you in from the beginning and keep you strung along, all the way to the end. The illustrations are done beautifully and really will be what makes this book stand out from other graphic novels.
A nice fictional account of what life what like during the Dust Bowl, a topic that has always interested me and could be used in conjunction with social studies units.
Thank you to Candlewick for the review copy :)
To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.
The Storm in the Barn