09 July 2010

The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan

Told in graphic novel format through stark illustrations and selective wording, Jack Clark shares a short period of his life when he is considered too young to know anything, but old enough to know better.

It is 1937 in Kansas during the Dust Bowl and Jack is 11 years old. Jack lives on a farm with his family, including a sick sister, and it hasn't rained in four years. Before the world stopped, he wasn't old enough to learn how to work the farm or how to grow up to be a man, and now, even though he's gotten older, he's treated like he's still a child. But Jack has noticed the barn that's all locked up -- he hears sounds at night and sees a light shining through the slats of its wooden walls. He's shocked to find that he can open the door to the barn, and he's even more shocked -- and frightened -- by what he finds inside, and what it all means. In a dangerous world, where children are cruel from boredom and men are cruel from necessity, Jack finds the courage, the power, and the control to prove his worth to his family and himself.

This quick and power read is recommended to those of all ages, especially young boys who are struggling to find the power to stand up for themselves, as well as those interested in history. This story shows a fascinating glimmer of life during the Dust Bowl in 1937.

Call number: YA GRAPHIC PHELAN (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

(Also find a cameo from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz . . .)

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