July 29, 2013
Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco
by Patricia Polacco
When she was a little girl, Patricia loved to visit her Babushka’s farm. The one thing that she didn’t like were the thunder storms that came rolling across the countryside. This is a story about how Grandma taught her not to be frightened.
Instead of trying to keep Patricia from focusing on the storm, Grandma teachers her to count the seconds to tell how far away the storm is. They have to time things just right if they are going to have time to make a Thunder Cake. A Thunder Cake is more than the eggs and the milk. It is even more than the unusual ingredients like overripe tomatoes.
As the cake bakes, Patricia and Grandma debate. Is Patricia frightened or is she brave. Patricia is convinced that hiding under the bed when the thunder first rumbled makes her frightened. Slowly, Grandma convinces her that gathering all of the ingredients during an approaching storm makes her very brave indeed.
Just as the storm rolls across the farm, Grandma puts the finishing touches on the cake — chocolate frosting and strawberries.
Yes, I’ve clearly been on a Patricia Polacco kick lately. When I read one book that I like by an author, even a favorite author like Polacco, I then request more of this person’s books.
What can I say? I love the cozy, homey details of Polacco’s books. I love that instead of lecturing her granddaughter to be brave or telling her to ignore the storm, Grandma gets her to track the storm while urging her to brave pecking chickens and garden trellises to gather the ingredients for a treat that simply cannot wait for a young girl to gather her courage. Before Patricia knows what’s happening, they have a cake and an amazing story to tell.
Readers can even make their own thunder cake with the recipe included by Polacco. Timing it just right with the storm is something you have to undertake all on your own.