A rollicking rhyming story about a family who dance up a wild storm while the wind and rain swirl outside. Rhythm, rhyme and family mayhem. Perfect for reading aloud, this playful, energetic story will have young children leaping into action.
Katrina Germein is an early childhood teacher who writes stories about the places she goes and the people she meets along the way. Her first picture book, Big Rain Coming (illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft), has remained in print since publication in 1999. My Dad Thinks He's Funny (illustrated by Tom Jellett) was Highly Commended in the Prime Minister's Literary Awards. Judy Watson is an illustrator and designer. She has illustrated a number of children's books, including the Extraordinary Ernie and Marvellous Maud series by Frances Watts and Goodnight Mice! which won the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Children's Fiction in 2012. Judy's artwork for Thunderstorm Dancing was Highly Commended in the Illustrators Australia Awards 2015.
A day at the beach. The sky darkens and the sea turns a sinister shade of green. Thunder rumbles. Shh. Listen. What can you hear? It’s coming closer. Time to pack up. Can you feel it? It’s ominous and a bit scary. Sit beside me.
In a paucity of words accompanied by the most evocative pictures, a storm brews out to sea, rumbles in and hits with powerful fury. But instead of letting the fear take over, Daddy makes the fierce into fun as he encourages his family to be the storm. He is the wind whizzing and blowing, howling and growing, making trees whoosh! making seas swoosh! Tommy is the clouds and Poppy the thunder, Lachie is the lightning and Mummy the rain – everyone swirling and swishing into the most outrageous cacophony of sound and exuberance of movement taking the storm on at its own game. Making it fun and not frightening. Until it passes and all is calm and safe and Granny brings the sun and the last page is the most beautiful of all.
With its fantastic vocabulary, rhyme, rhythm and repetition the story is the storm full of the most amazing and inspiring energy – you just want to get up and move and make noise and join in the fun. It is a joyous celebration of something that can be scary and intimidating and is the perfect example of how careful colour choice and the use of line and expression are integral to creating mood and atmosphere. Just like a storm, it builds to a crescendo and then suddenly there is peace and serenity until… Even without yet having read it to my Year 2 audience, I can hear it in my head and know they are going to adore this and it will add so much to what they have been learning about setting, characters and plot.
But apart from that it’s just a rollicking good read that encourages us to embrace our fears, stare them in the face and poke fun at them by making ourselves their master.
Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian, Cooma NSW