Rolling Thunder

illus. by Greg Ruth. 32p. Scholastic. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545470124.
K-Gr 3—A tribute to the phenomenon that is the Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom, which takes place in Washington, DC, every Memorial Day weekend. In rhyming text, a young boy describes his journey to the capital to meet his grandfather, who rides his motorcycle to honor two friends who died in Vietnam. The child brings a photo of his pilot uncle, lost in another war. After the narrator's train trip, he joins the cyclists' encampment for memory sharing and a meal. The next morning, he rides in Grandpa's sidecar in the miles-long rows of motorcycles parading past the Lincoln Memorial. "Lines of bikes are miles long,/shining, half a million strong./Rumbling, grumbling, engines roar./Peace signs. High fives. Spirits soar." Ruth's background in comics illustration is evident in his skillful use of palette to reflect mood. The realistic paintings rely on warm yellows and reds to depict the boy's home; olive fatigues and the purple-lit monument are featured during more solemn moments.
VERDICT A lyrical ode to our nation's fallen heroes and those who keep their memories alive, suitable for one-on-one and small group sharing. A good choice for most collections.

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