Katrina Germeinweaves a story about a little girl and her family harnessing the hurly-burly of a thunderstorm. The little girl’s family feel energised by the storm and their bodies and voices move to the intensity and rhythm of it. The little girl, on the other hand, feels the storm’s enormity and stays small and still. Finally calm descends and it’s time for Granny and the girl to tap into the new mood. This story revels in the mayhem of a large family and reminds me of my own. My husband, four kids and I often break into spontaneous dancing and singing, especially as a way of cheering someone up.
Germein’s words roll around my mouth and pop and fizz, enticing me to read the book aloud with my kids, again and again. The poetic prose captures the verve of a storm, expertly employing rhythm, rhyme, and my favourite, onomatopoeia. Think, ‘ga-bang’, ‘ga-boom’.
I am captivated by Judy Watson’s expressive illustration style as I detailed in Searching for Cicadas. That superb scratchy line work. It flows and billows, undulating across the page, visualising the storm’s energy. Watson has used varied perspectives captured in mixed media, ink, watercolour, gouache, as well as, digital colour. Watson’s use of complementary colours, blue and orange, make each spread pop.
Thunderstorm Dancing is a wonderful read-aloud book for families and as a primary teacher, I highly recommend it as a resource for classrooms. Imagine writing a poem inspired by the use of onomatopoeia in the book. Also Germein is an early childhood teacher and so has lots of suggestions on her websiteand her Pinterest. There are also teaching notes here. What’s more, this story is a wonderful model for how to express big emotions as a means of catharsis, a real interest of mine at the moment.
Thunderstorm Dancing captures the vitality of life in words and pictures. A book of gusto, sparkle and spirit.
Title: Thunderstorm Dancing
Author: Katrina Germein
Illustrator: Judy Watson
Publisher: A&U Children’s, $14.99 RRP
Publication Date: 5 January 2022
For ages: 2 – 8
Type: Picture Book
August 10, 2022 at 12:55AM DimbutNice