cover image Thunder Cake

Thunder Cake

Patricia Polacco. Philomel Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22231-3

In Thunder Cake , a grandmother helps her granddaughter overcome her fear of thunder by baking a special cake while a storm threatens. Although the book's concept is good, it does not fulfill its promise. The story is poorly paced: the storm approaches rapidly, but does not break for several pages as Polacco crams in details, including a lengthy pause while the cake bakes. The illustrations are less than appealing: both characters' faces are chalky white, draining them of life. Many of the barnyard animals are drawn out of proportion--Grandmother is almost the same size as a cow she milks, geese are as tall as people. Considering how many children are afraid of thunder, it is a shame Thunder Cake is not a stronger effort. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)