✯ The Storm in the Barn Books ✴ Author Matt Phelan – Cheapnikeshoes.co

Blog review Growing up during the Dust Bowl, Jack and his sisters know little but poverty, depression, and anxiety Their father is depressed, the older girl is seriously ill, and Jack is badly bullied by other boys The children s only pleasures are fantasy stories and their mother s memories of a green and prosperous past The dominant use of dull, sere colors and the repetitive, often wordless panels did a great job of conveying the dead dryness of the land and the boredom and despair of the people who could do nothing to save their livelihoods This technique did make the book a little dull, especially visually, but it would be effective for teaching about the Dust Bowl I m not particularly interested in this period and was attracted by the supernatural element I wish that had been developed extensively. Tall Tale Thriller Gripping Historical Fiction This Artful, Sparely Told Graphic Novel A Tale Of A Boy In Dust Bowl America Will Resonate With Young Readers TodayIn Kansas In The Year , Eleven Year Old Jack Clark Faces His Share Of Ordinary Challenges Local Bullies, His Father S Failed Expectations, A Little Sister With An Eye For Trouble But He Also Has To Deal With The Effects Of The Dust Bowl, Including Rising Tensions In His Small Town And The Spread Of A Shadowy Illness Certainly A Case Of Dust Dementia Would Explain Who Or What Jack Has Glimpsed In The Talbot S Abandoned Barn A Sinister Figure With A Face Like Rain In A Land Where It Never Rains, It S Hard To Trust What You See With Your Own Eyes And Harder Still To Take Heart And Be A Hero When The Time Comes With Phenomenal Pacing, Sensitivity, And A Sure Command Of Suspense, Matt Phelan Ushers Us Into A World Where Desperation Is Transformed By Unexpected Courage I had heard fantastic things about this graphic novel, but thought it was just so so The illustrations are beautiful soft watercolor imbuing everything with washes of ochre, greys and blues but the story didn t work.Set in the Dustbowl of 1937, Jack, a young boy raised on a farm, is the victim of bullies, the weather, and a family struggling to survive in the case of his sister, literally He escapes into town to hear stories from a local merchant, or reads with his sister from the Oz books On his way home each day he stops by a neighbor s abandoned barn where there appears to be some strange activity going on.It turns out that rain has been turned into some semi nefarious creature, keeping the life saving stuff in a valise it will not open It s up to Jack to steal the bag, open it up and bring the rain back to the prairie.The many narrative strands never really came together there were too many bits that weren t resolved and a forced happy ending I don t see this as appealing to the young reader. I picked this up today on a whim at work After reading it, I was sure I d come here to Goodreads to find lots of glowing reviews Hmmm Most people didn t seem to like it very much I honestly don t understand the dislike.Phelan s way of telling the story of a family struggling in Dust Bowl Kansas reminded me a tad of a Neil Gaiman story and hush, ye who wail and say, He s no Neil Gaiman No, he s not, but it s that same sort of fantasy within reality that s reminiscent of Gaiman s work The story is very simple which, evidently, some people don t like but really, are we going to throw myriad plot twists in a graphic novel for kids , and Phelan s ephemeral drawings perfectly echo the haze and dust of the landscape The soft line drawings make the characters almost insubstantial, as they fade away in the face of the unrelenting Dust I also thought that the use of color was phenomenal When Jack s mom talks about the past, we get full color illustrations Jack gets a bloody nose after an encounter with bullies, and the only spot of color on the page is that bright red splotch of blood The rabbit beating scene is wonderfully done, with red panels blocking out the worst of the violence.I get the feeling that some people feel that the plot is saying that Jack, by defeating the King of Storms the rain king , magically ended the drought and that is historically inaccurate, blah blah blah, are taking this a touch too literally Phelan is not trying to say that the reason the Dust Bowl ended is because a kid found the rain god hiding in a barn and defeated him It s chock full of symbolism and all that good stuff, and can be read solely on a fantasy level for the younger ones, or a coming of age story for older ones I ve had a pretty bad day today This book made me feel better Not that Depression era Kansas is a particularly uplifting topic, but I just felt that Phelan s work was so moving in its simple beauty that it made my heart feel a bit better This is one where you check your cynicism at the door, folks, and enjoy. Beautiful, simple, yet detailed illustrations with very few words Told from an 11 year old boy s perspective, in 1937 Kansas There is no rain and Jack wants to know how he can fix it Some of the story was brutal and graphic It was told with as much grace as possible, I suppose All in all a quick and enjoyable experience Hard to call it a read since there are so few words. So, I wanted to love this with the same kind of passion I have for The Arrival, but I didn t quite I give it three and a half stars I like its unusual genre historical fiction in graphic novel format, with a twist of tall tale and the incorporation of some of the Jack tales and The Wizard of Oz Maybe it was Matt Phelan s very soft illustrations you ve seen them in The Higher Power of Lucky little sister Mabel is cute as a button that belied the dark thriller hiding in this story Before reading, I would have given it to a young child after reading, I m thinking they should be at least 10 and not easily scared and, if you have a particular love of rabbits or a particular hatred of animal killing in a book, steer clear That being said, there is a certain type of kid who will LOVE this book if they can get past it being a boring historical story about the Dust Bowl from a kid s point of view Kids with a good sense of the visual will like it, for at times it is almost wordless, and very cinematic There were times when I couldn t quite follow the sequence of events in the wordless pages, which made me feel out of it since I read a lot of graphic novels, but the book as a whole made my heart beat faster, and that s saying something. If you re looking for a book with many elements, look no further Matt Phelan s, The Storm in the Barn is a graphic novel encompassing historical fiction, folklore and horror, along with paying homage to another great piece of literature, The Wizard of Oz The text is limited, but the story unfolds in the beautifully stunning illustrations Matt Phelan has captured the grittiness and haziness of the Kansis Dustbowl I found myself squinting and peering closely, feeling as if I was being transported in time and forced to make sense of a shadowy world myself While other readers may find the lack of visual clarity disruptive, I felt visually immensed in the plot I literally speed through this It s pretty amazing that pictures, pictures, and pictures with a couple words sprinkled through the pages could impact the reader I liked the magic realism, the art, the colors, the history Although, not a fan of the dust A combination of historical fiction and fantasy folklore make up this strange tale that takes place during the American Dust Bowl of the 1930s A family has been suffering for four years now without rain The eldest daughter has dust pneumonia, the youngest has never seen rain, the father cannot work the farm on his own, the mother realizes they must pull up stakes and move and now 11yo Jack, our hero, has been too young to help around the farm as he grew over the years He thinks he is a klutz and he has started seeing things those around him think he has come down with dust dementia As anyone who regularly reads my reviews knows, I love fantasy but I really did not like the fantasy element in this story I would have enjoyed it much as a straight historical fiction The strange King of Storms Jack meets in the neighbour s barn was just plain weird and made no sense whatsoever There were also way too many wordless pages for my enjoyment Finally, while the artwork did suit the time period it didn t impress me, I found it wishy washy This book has received rave reviews but I m going to have to beg to differ as the whole thing left me feeling meh.