cover image The Longest Storm

The Longest Storm

Dan Yaccarino. MineditionUS/Russo, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-66265-047-5

It was unlike any storm we’d ever seen,” this layered volume’s unspecified narrator says of the title’s weather event: “No one knew how long it would last. We were going to have to stay inside, maybe for a long while.” A father, a blue dog, and three taupe-skinned siblings—one an adolescent, the other two closer to the target audience age—hunker down: “There was nothing to do, and too much time to do it.” As the dark storm rages outside, appearing through the home’s windows in almost every scene, domestic life unravels under the pressure of unrelenting proximity. Fights erupt over messy rooms and digital devices, faces turn orange with rage, and communication ceases. But when a bolt of lightning knocks out the power—in a series of striking images that go from blazing yellow to deep blue and turquoise—the individuals huddle together and apologize. Though the storm persists, “something had changed,” and the family enjoys each other’s company, engages in only minor squabbles, and even puts on an impromptu concert. And when the sun finally does return, they go outside—together—and resolutely begin cleanup out of doors. In bright, flat colors and decisive lines, Yaccarino (Smashy Town) crafts an emotionally nuanced, authentic picture book that simultaneously hints at and avoids mention of recent events. Conveying instantly recognizable sadness and stresses, it clearly shows how connection and resilience can prevail in the face of any storm. Ages 4–8. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Aug.)