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Thunder Cake Paperback – August 25, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (August 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0698115813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698115811
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.1 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Thunder Cake , a grandmother helps her granddaughter overcome her fear of thunder by baking a special cake while a storm threatens. Although the book's concept is good, it does not fulfill its promise. The story is poorly paced: the storm approaches rapidly, but does not break for several pages as Polacco crams in details, including a lengthy pause while the cake bakes. The illustrations are less than appealing: both characters' faces are chalky white, draining them of life. Many of the barnyard animals are drawn out of proportion--Grandmother is almost the same size as a cow she milks, geese are as tall as people. Considering how many children are afraid of thunder, it is a shame Thunder Cake is not a stronger effort. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3-Although Robinson couldn't swim, his daughter affectionately recounts how he bravely tested the ice near the family's Connecticut home so that his children and their friends could play on the frozen lake. Nelson's expressive illustrations rendered in pencil, watercolor, and oils add to the richness of the story.α(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

More About the Author

Born Patricia Ann Barber in Lansing, Michigan, to parents of Russian and Ukrainian descent on one side and Irish on the other, Patricia Polacco grew up in both California and Michigan. Her school year was spent in Oakland, California, and summers in her beloved Michigan. She describes her family members as marvelous storytellers. "My fondest memories are of sitting around a stove or open fire, eating apples and popping corn while listening to the old ones tell glorious stories about their homeland and the past. We are tenacious traditionalists and sentimentalists.... With each retelling our stories gain a little more Umph!"Studying in the United States and Australia, Patricia Polacco has earned an M.F.A. and a Ph. D. in art history, specializing in Russian and Greek painting, and iconographic history. She is a museum consultant on the restoration of icons. As a participant in many citizen exchange programs for writers and illustrators, Patricia Polacco has traveled extensively in Russia as well as other former Soviet republics. She continues to support programs that encourage Russo-American friendships and understanding. She is also deeply involved in inner-city projects here in the U.S. that promote the peaceful resolution of conflict and encourage art and literacy programs.The mother of a grown son and a daughter, Patricia Polacco currently resides in Michigan, where she has a glorious old farm that was built during the time of Lincoln.

Customer Reviews

Wonderful story to help children overcome fears of storms.
Desi
The illustrations are wonderful as always in all of Patricia Polacco's books.
Cakewmn
It has the Thunder Cake recipe in there we can't wait to make and eat!
Ms. G

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of author/illustrator Patricia Polacco, and this book is one of the best of her incredible catalogue: It contains all the essential ingredients that go into a "Polacco." She returns here to her Michigan childhood, and her loving memories of her grandmother "Babushka." Polacco's detailed reminiscence describes how Babushka helped her overcome a fear of thunderstorms.
We identify with the frightened young heroine partly because Polacco so convincingly describes the power and noise of a Midwest thunderstorm. Gradually, Polacco shows how Babushka's patient, strong doses of hugs, distraction, reassurance, and the promise of a special treat gave her the self-confidence to face and surmount her fear. Analyze this too deeply and you'll recognize some basic child-rearing techniques, but Polacco infuses these with so much warmth that they seem to spring, sui generis, from some old folk wisdom held by Babushkas everywhere. The result is a genuinely exciting and lovingly told story enlivened by the fact that it is true.
Polacco's illustrations are a treasure. She has a unique style that combines American influences (Rockwell, American primitives, early cartoons) with eastern European folk art, all drawn in her trademark loopy style. She paints brightly colored, organic looking objects, people, and animals that convey emotion and invite empathy. This is a visual equivalent of a great short story, it seems that every color and line adds to the value of the narrative; yet her achievement remains informal and friendly; it never feels studied or precious. Polacco's sense of fun and tradition, her celebration of family, loved ones, and reminiscence, and her bold imagination remind me of Chagall (though not nearly as abstract.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of author/illustrator Patricia Polacco, and this book is one of the best of her incredible catalogue: It contains all the essential ingredients that go into a "Polacco." She returns here to her Michigan childhood, and her loving memories of her grandmother "Babushka." Polacco's detailed reminiscence describes how Babushka helped her overcome a fear of thunderstorms.
We identify with the frightened young heroine partly because Polacco so convincingly describes the power and noise of a Midwest thunderstorm. Gradually, Polacco shows how Babushka's patient, strong doses of hugs, distraction, reassurance, and the promise of a special treat gave her the self-confidence to face and surmount her fear. Analyze this too deeply and you'll recognize some basic child-rearing techniques, but Polacco infuses these with so much warmth that they seem to spring, sui generis, from some old folk wisdom held by Babushkas everywhere. The result is a genuinely exciting and lovingly told story enlivened by the fact that it is true.
Polacco's illustrations are a treasure. She has a unique style that combines American influences (Rockwell, American primitives, early cartoons) with eastern European folk art, all drawn in her trademark loopy style. She paints brightly colored, organic looking objects, people, and animals that convey emotion and invite empathy. This is a visual equivalent of a great short story, it seems that every color and line adds to the value of the narrative; yet her achievement remains informal and friendly; it never feels studied or precious. Polacco's sense of fun and tradition, her celebration of family, loved ones, and reminiscence, and her bold imagination remind me of Chagall (though not nearly as abstract.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
My daughter's first grade teacher read this book to the class, and then served thunder cake (gives the recipe in the back of the book.) We had to buy the book, and now grandma is planning to read it and make it with the grandkids on a stormy day.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Lara Rosalik on July 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am a 3rd grade teacher who finds Polacco's work to be exceptional, not only in its' written form, but with its' vibrant, eye-catching illustrations. Polacco has a remarkable way of taking the reader back in time with her, to her very own childhood, as in "Thundercake." "Thundercake" is a universal story of a little girl overcoming her fear of thunderstorms while baking a cake with her grandmother.It is a story that speaks to many children in showing them that they can overcome their fears. I highly recommend any of Polacco's books. She will take the reader to such simple places as her grandparent's farm in Michigan,as well as to such exotic places as Old World Russia, where her family is from. Polacco is a jewel that sparkles above the rest!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
The story takes place in the summer in Michigan on a farm. It is summer storm season and the grandmother has her grandaughter over. The grandaughter is afraid of thunder, so the grandmother bakes a cake to take away her fears. They quickly got all the ingredients and made the cake. If you make the cake before the storm hits, you made thunder cake. I highly recommend this book for children 4 and up. This is a humorous book by Patricia Polacco.
Eric C.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
This story was really cute! My step-sister loved this book and when we made the cake, everyone gobbled it up, despite the interesting secret ingredient! Everyone always loves this yummy cake, and this cute story!
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