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story.lead_photo.caption When the Storm Comes by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo (Nancy Paulsen Books, May 26), ages 3 to 7, 32 pages, $17.99 hardcover. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Celia Storey)

TITLE: When the Storm Comes

BY: Linda Ashman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo (Nancy Paulsen Books, Tuesday), ages 3 to 7, 32 pages, $17.99 hardcover.

STORY: A child and a cat peer through a dormer window in a house where the whale-shaped weather vane is whirling. Leaves fly off trees, and a flock of seagulls rises. The narrator asks, "What do you do when the clouds roll in, when the wind chimes clang and the weather vanes spin?"

The question rhymes, and the answers on pages to come also rhyme. Deft and evocative, Linda Ashman's verses describe storm prep practices of wild animals and humans. Foxes and squirrels say, "We watch. We sniff. We perk our ears, and listen as the rumbling nears." People say, "We count supplies. We check the news. We find our comfort spot. We snooze."

Taeeun Yoo's artwork shows bees returning to the hive, rabbits tucking into a hollow log, whales diving into protective depths, and racially diverse people tying up boats, toting outdoor furniture indoors, getting the flashlight, candles and radio ready. When the storm arrives, rain slashes a little village huddled beside a blue-black, turbulent sea. Every window is illuminated, the lighthouse shows specks of yellow light, and lightning branches across half the sky; but the world is dark.

People and animals "hunker down to watch and wait." We see people around a table, playing chess and drinking tea.

After the storm comes a brilliant, sunny scene. Humans are outside to check on neighbors, clean up and be together; animals leave their dens to scout around and relish the calm.

This book delivers reassurance, and even though the scenery presents an ocean town, it's appropriate for children who live in storm-thrashed, landlocked places like Arkansas, too.

Ashman lives in North Carolina; she has written more than 25 children's picture books, several of them award winners. Yoo, who won an Ezra Jack Keats Award for her work in Only a Witch Can Fly lives in Seoul, South Korea.

Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.

Style on 05/25/2020

Print Headline: READ TO ME

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