cover image STORM IS COMING!


Heather Tekavec, Toni Buzzeo, , illus. by Margaret Spengler. . Dial, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2626-0

When a white-bearded farmer announces, "Storm is coming!", Dog panics. He warns the sheep, the yellow duck and the cows, and they all gallop for shelter, their bodies stretched out and legs flailing as they repeat the warning. Two spreads, one tracing a diagonal path downhill toward the reader and the other directed uphill to a distant red barn, magnify the intensity by use of steep perspective. "The barking, the flapping, the bleating and the mooing awoke Cat from her nap in the hay…. 'And who is Storm?' she meowed." No one knows, but the sheep baa that "He must be-e-e very sca-a-a-ry!" The menagerie cowers at the looming purple-gray clouds ("Storm can't find us in the dark," Dog reminds them) and the bright, zigzag bolts of lightning ("The sky is going to blind Storm so he can't see us!" he decides). Spengler (Clickety Clack) conveys the sense of emergency with close-ups of the worried duck and glimpses of wind-tossed trees, but alleviates the anxiety with well-lit, warm pastel imagery and a peek at the snoozing, unconcerned gray cat. In her picture-book debut, Tekavec wisely leaves it to readers to point out the animals' faulty logic, and soothes fears of thunder by making a game of "Storm's" delayed arrival. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)