cover image Chinook!


Michael O. Tunnell. Tambourine Books, $14 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10869-4

In his children's book debut, Tunnell tells of the great, hot winds that tear through the winter countryside of the Pacific Northwest. A brother and sister recently moved to that region meet Andrew Delaney McFadden, an eccentric old man who is bracing himself for the return of the great Chinook that turned his community upside-down 50 years earlier. In a rather labored exposition, the man tells the wide-eyed children what a Chinook is and recounts the havoc the great gale wreaked on the town. Unfortunately, Tunnell's story, with its absence of a directed narrative and fleshed-out characters, is little more than a series of loosely connected tall tales. Even the somewhat predictable ``surprise'' ending, in which the long-awaited Chinook is seen rolling into town once more, fails to satisfy. Root's ( The Araboolies of Liberty Street ; The Singing Fir Tree ) peppy watercolors--an agreeable stylistic departure for this talented artist--provide a polished chromatic shift between winter's blue and white landscape and the golds of the Chinook-parched earth. Such whimsically surreal images as a horse-drawn sleigh ``sailing'' gaily through a flooded village add needed sparkle. Ages 5-up. (Mar.)