Saturday 11 April 2015

Thunderstorm Dancing

Thunderstorm Dancing by Katrina Germein & Judy Watson (Allen & Unwin)
PB RRP $24.99
ISBN 9781743314593

Reviewed by Yvonne Mess

From the lyrical, flowing language to the gorgeous illustrations, this was a sumptuous read. A little girl is worried about an approaching thunder storm which soon breaks into full force. The storm is gleefully received by her family. Each family member represents a part of the storm;

‘Lachlie is the lightning
flicking and flashing
tricking and dashing
crackling zap!
sizzling snap!’

The use of lyrical language, with its alliteration and internal rhyme make for an exciting and poetic text.

The girl’s anxiety is the thread that runs through the story, though in the end she adds in her own unique way to the family’s exuberance and delight in the weather.

The illustrations show lively playful characters full of charisma including the family pets. The brushstrokes and line work are loose and fluid. I loved the complementary shades of green and red sustained throughout and the cute end papers.

The illustrations not only complement the text, but extend it. Each family member is depicted in turn as larger than life natural phenomena to suit the mood of the scene.

There is a wonderful sense of a loving family which consists of parents, a set of grandparents, and three children. You get the sense that perhaps the family is visiting the grandparents at their seaside home, or the family is on holiday together but most of all how much they enjoy each other’s company.

What could be considered as a quiet story is swept up in the noise of the storm and the family fun it generates.

Yvonne Mes is a children's writer and illustrator. Her picture book, Meet Sidney Nolan (Random House) and Oliver’s Grumbles (Dragon Tales Publishing) are scheduled for release in October 2015.

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