Sarah's Stars

Matt Phelan. The Storm in the Barn
Candlewick $29.00  ISBN 978-0-7636-3618-0 208 pg.
Reviewed by Koryn, Age 11

Four years ago, the rain left. Four years ago Jackís chance to grow up left. Jack is living in Kansas in the years of the dust bowl. The rain is gone, and everyone is faced with problems, especially Jack. His father thinks heís useless, he is constantly teased, and Abe thinks he is coming down with a case of dust dementia. When Jack sees a sinister man with a face like rain in the Talbotís barn, he starts to believe Abe. But if seeing is believing, will Jack find the courage to believe?

The Storm in the Barn is an amazing graphic novel that combines fact, fiction, folklore and suspense into a story that will sweep you away into Kansas, 1939, in the days of the dust bowl. Wow! I loved this book! Matt Phelan said in his authorís note that he had always wondered what the dust bowl would be like from a childís point of view, and when he put pen to paper, he did an amazing job. I could see through Jackís eyes and into his soul. The climax was a little empty, but hopefully when the book is released to the public, it will have more to it.

Matt Phelan has illustrated many stories for younger readers, including Always and The Higher Power of Lucky which won the 2007 Newberry Medal. This is his first graphic novel.

I give Matt Phelanís thrilling graphic novel, The Storm in the Barn, 4 stars and recommend it for ages 9 and up.

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