Book Review: The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan

the storm in the barn matt phelan

I read this book for my Literature & Media for Children class. I am using it for the Treasure Hunt (weather, a type of building), Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge, and 52 Books in 52 Weeks.

Summary from Goodreads: Tall tale. Thriller. Gripping historical fiction. This artful, sparely told graphic novel — a tale of a boy in Dust Bowl America — will resonate with young readers today. In Kansas in the year 1937, eleven-year-old Jack Clark faces his share of ordinary challenges: local bullies, his father’s failed expectations, a little sister with an eye for trouble. But he also has to deal with the effects of the Dust Bowl, including rising tensions in his small town and the spread of a shadowy illness. Certainly a case of “dust dementia” would explain who (or what) Jack has glimpsed in the Talbot’s abandoned barn — a sinister figure with a face like rain. In a land where it never rains, it’s hard to trust what you see with your own eyes — and harder still to take heart and be a hero when the time comes. With phenomenal pacing, sensitivity, and a sure command of suspense, Matt Phelan ushers us into a world where desperation is transformed by unexpected courage.

My review for my class: The Storm in the Barn is historical fiction in the form of a graphic novel, written and illustrated by Matt Phelan. Winner of the 2010 Scott O’Dell Award, this book is set during the Dust Bowl that plagued Kansas in the 1930s. Jack is an 11-year-old who hasn’t seen rain for four years, is constantly bullied by other boys in his town, and reads the Oz books with his sick sister, fittingly named Dorothy. His only escape from this dreary world is the tall tales he hears from a local shopkeeper, Ernie. That is until he discovers a mysterious figure, who appears to have a face that looks like rain, in an abandoned barn. Is Jack suffering from dust dementia… Or is there something more to this apparition?

Verdict: 3 out of 5 stars. I didn’t care for the artistic style used in this graphic novel or the plot. I felt like you didn’t get to know the characters very well either.



1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Books Read in 2013 | I Like Big Books

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