The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan

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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 today.

In Kansas in the year 1937, 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.

About Matt Phelan

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Matt Phelan is the illustrator of many books for young readers, including ALWAYS by Ann Stott and THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY by Susan Patron, winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal. THE STORM IN THE BARN is his first graphic novel. He lives in Philadelphia.
Published September 8, 2009 by Candlewick. 208 pages
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Storm in the Barn

Kirkus Reviews

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Jack is the favorite target of the town bullies, but general-store owner Ernie tries to cheer Jack with traditional “Jack tales.” Then the boy sees a mysterious flash in the Talbots’ abandoned barn.

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Common Sense Media

It's up to Jack to outsmart the Rain King and bring the rain back to his town.

Sep 08 2009 | Read Full Review of The Storm in the Barn

A Patchwork of Books

Turtle's aunt is all on her own with her husband being up in the Northern Keys finding work, and she's got her hands full with 3 kids and an angry aging mother to deal with.

Mar 16 2013 | Read Full Review of The Storm in the Barn

Graphic Novel Reporter

Much of the story is in muted browns, tans, and greys, but the colors become more vibrant when Jack’s mother speaks of her childhood in a green and fertile Kansas or when the shopkeeper tells stories of the folkloric Jack.

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Roosevelt called it, “a date which will live in infamy” (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 68).

Nov 11 2017 | Read Full Review of The Storm in the Barn

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