July 28, 2017

Rolling Thunder by Kate Messner, illustrated by Greg Ruth

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 1:10 am by suebe2

Rolling Thunder
by Kate Messner
illustrated by Greg Ruth
Scholastic Press

A young narrator starts his journey on a passenger train but it isn’t long before he meets up with his grandfather.  The pair is part of Rolling Thunder, a motorcycle rally that heads into Washington DC on Memorial Day weekend.  Grandpa is riding for friends he lost in Vietnam. The narrator has an uncle in the armed forces.

The night before the big ride, they camp out, the Washington Monument visible in the distance.  At dawn, they are on their way, part of a line of bikers that stretches for miles.  The group rides past cheering crowds.  Some wave the American flag.  Others wave the black and white flag for the soldiers who never made it home.

Together they visit the Wall.  They leave a flower and make a rubbing.  This is a time to heal. As the sun sets they ride off into the countryside.  Camping out once more under the stars they take the time to remember.

Messner has created a fast-paced rhyming picture book that expresses pride, sorrow and a heart-felt need to remember.  It is complimented perfectly by Ruth’s art work full of deep color and heart-felt emotions.  But it also has a slightly out-of-focus dreamy feel that makes the book timeless.

Because that’s what this book is — heart-felt.  It is a story of family and community, memory, pride and unity.  It is a story of patriotism in support of those who have served and sacrificed.

This would make an excellent gift book for those whose parents are in the service as well as those who have vets in the family.  In truth, I would be just as likely to give it as a Father’s Day gift to a grandfather veteran as I would to a young child.  This is a book to be read and reread and most of all shared.

To quote:

“Rising Smoke and glowing ember.
“Ride for freedom. Ride.


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