Sleeping Bear. Aug. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534111486.
Gr 1-3–“Teacher says it’s time to write. UGH! I clench my pencil tight. I peek outside—it’s gloomy, gray. Cloudy. Like my brain today.” These first lines set the stage for the literal brainstorm of ideas to come, encompassed in the imagery of a thunderstorm and written as poetry in motion. After struggling to write anything, the unnamed student begins their weather inspired journey. “I feel a drop. One tiny thought.” Soon a deluge of thought drops is falling, followed by funny phrases flying past, gusts of adjectives, and verb clouds that swell and multiply. “I pounce and play, embrace the storm, as sentences begin to form…I tip my head and drink them in, as stories soak my clothes and skin.” As the storm abates, a flood of possibilities remains; the student, once again at the desk, begins to write. Levington’s accessible, rhyming text captures the frustration and joys of writing without becoming didactic. Kronreif’s illustrations fully embrace the literal brainstorm theme in novel and refreshing ways. The movement of the brain and physical storm is effortlessly conveyed with winds of actual phrases, rain drops of images and words, twirling titles, and much more. The illustrations themselves contain many fun words and phrases to read. The main character has lighter skin, while her classmates have various tones of skin. The final pages contain writing prompts titled “Cloudy with a chance of ideas!” and “A tornado of terminology” that defines the parts of speech.
VERDICT A great trip through a literal brainstorm that will leave readers inspired to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys). This belongs in most libraries.

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