Cover image for Twister
Beard, Darleen Bailey.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, [1999]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Two children experience a tornado.
Reading Level:
AD 300 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.5 0.5 29518.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.4 2 Quiz: 29057 Guided reading level: L.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Two children experience a tornado.

Although she sees them safely to the cellar, Mama has to leave Lucille and Natt and go help Mr. Lyle, an elderly neighbor. She tells the children not to open the door until she comes back. But Mama doesn't come back, and Lucille must comfort Natt throughout the terrifying experience of a tornado.

Author Notes

Darleen Bailey Beard , author of The Flimflam Man , lives in Tuttle, Oklahoma.

Nancy Carpenter , the illustrator of several books, including Sitti's Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye, lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. Two thrilling picture books capture the sudden terror of a tornado through the eyes of a child. Beard's story is told by a young girl who finds shelter with her younger brother in a cellar near their rural trailer home. As the storm builds and the power goes out, their mother rushes the children to the cellar and then tries to help an elderly neighbor. The frightened children miss her and worry about her. They huddle together in the clammy underground storeroom, playing games to try to keep busy. The roaring wind rises and rises, then suddenly everything is silent, until "with a ferocious roar, the twister strikes" like a howling monster. Carpenter's stormy chalklike illustrations are filled with wild movement against the dark sky as the people fight the wind and shout and scream and see one another through. Just as powerful is the warm, tearful embrace when they are all safe together afterward, shaking and crying and holding one another tight, the landscape torn up around them. The art is quite different from Carpenter's playful acrylic folk style in Alexis O'Neill's tall tale Loud Emily (1998). These realistic illustrations are more like those Carpenter did for Naomi Shihab Nye's Sitti's Secrets (1994), in which the loving bonds hold strong. Graham's setting is a thriving cattle farm on the Canadian prairie, and her handsome, realistic landscape paintings show an idyllic hardworking family. Matthew is safe on the tall shoulders of his dad, striding past the barnyard, over the hayfields, and into the pasture, where Dad is fixing the fence to keep the herd of Holsteins secure. Then the storm rises, and Matthew shows Dad the funnel cloud roaring toward them like a towering demon that eats everything in its path. Dad scoops Matthew into his arms and races with him to shelter in a narrow culvert. As in Beard's book, afterward there is the heartfelt reunion; mother, father, and son "wove themselves into long, thankful hugs." Several pages show the devastation and how neighbors come to work together and help. Besides the drama of the storm, the paintings show the child's first realization that Dad can't shelter him from everything, even as he knows the strength of their love. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

A rural family and its neighbor face potential disaster as a tornado heads for their homes in this suspenseful though ultimately reassuring picture book. Natt and Lucille enjoy a sultry summer day eating Popsicles and pretending to be royalty. As they dart through the yard, a serious storm kicks up and brings them indoors. When Mama spots an ominous funnel cloud in the distance, she sends Natt and Lucille racing out toward the storm cellar built into the yard while she heads next door to help Mr. Lyle take shelter. During the next several minutes, Natt and Lucille hunker alone in the dark, waiting for the storm to pass and afraid for Mama and Mr. Lyle's safety. Happily, the twister moves on, having caused minimal damage, and Natt and Lucille are quickly reunited with Mama. Beard (The Pumpkin Man from Piney Creek) gets all the details right: the sky turning the color of Mama's guacamole, an ominous silence followed by the "monstrous howling" of wind. In a style vastly different from her work in Loud Emily and closer to that in Lester's Dog, Carpenter's soft and hazy pastels capture all the colors of the changing sky. Her portraits of Natt and Lucille have an emotional pull, showing the kids' move from playful to fearful to thankful as the ordeal begins and ends. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-In this vividly written story, Natt and Lucille learn that life can change with terrifying rapidity when, on a lovely summer day as they are playing outdoors, an onrushing tornado drives them into the storm cellar. After seeing them to safety, their mother goes to help an elderly neighbor seek shelter. Lucille tries to cheer Natt up with little games, but both children are frightened, especially when the storm screeches and tears at the cellar door. Suddenly all is quiet. The siblings emerge and find the sun shining once again and their mother and neighbor crawling out from underneath his porch. Despite the wreckage of an overturned truck, toppled trees, and sagging roofs, the children find joy in collecting sparkling hailstones and returning to their porch swing. Sweeping, expressive double-page spreads show them enjoying their play, then racing first to their mobile home as the sky is split by lightning and turns charcoal blue, and then, wind whipped, running to the cellar in the backyard where they sit, tense and terrified, in the dark until they can emerge into the sunlight to find the ground covered with ice diamonds and everyone safe.- (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.