cover image The Story of Lightning & Thunder

The Story of Lightning & Thunder

Ashley Bryan. Atheneum Books, $16 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31836-8

Joyful in both word and palette, this African story tells why lightning and thunder reside in the sky and not on earth, as they once did. Ma Sheep Thunder and Son Ram Lightning live in an African village, summoning Rain by racing through the mountains at the King's request. But Son Ram Lightning gets into mischief--butting people, munching on straw hats in the marketplace, and accidentally setting a fire. The exasperated King finally banishes mother and son to the sky, where they live today except for occasional earthly forays in which frisky Lightning strikes anything in his path and his mother runs after him, calling him back home. Bryan takes a highly conversational, genial tone, with frequent interjections of ``uh-huh'' and ``uh-uh,'' that quickly develops camaraderie between the reader, the narrator, the sprited ram, and his frazzled mother. Brilliantly colored and ingeniously patterned, Bryan's illustrations are a playful take on stained glass. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)