Thunder Rose is a welcome addition to the tradition of American tall tales. Author Jerdine Nolen has created the larger-than-life Rose, who rolls lightning into a ball, twists iron, and tames stampeding steers.
Here are three things I like about this book:
- There are less tall tales featuring female protagonists; even fewer non-white females. Thunder Rose gives us a valiant hero to embrace from an underrepresented group.
- Illustrator Kadir Nelson’s illustrations convey the great expanse of the western frontier. His choice of viewpoint is unique and interesting – the reader is often looking up at Thunder Rose, which adds to the greatness of her personality.
- Nolen has masterfully written a tale that has the feel of an old folktale, but also feels fresh.
Just under two thousand words, Thunder Rose is quite long, even though it is a fully illustrated book. While younger children may still be captivated by the tale, I would recommend this book for ages 6-10. It would be a great addition to a group of stories including Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, and John Henry.