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Tuesday, May 24
Thunder Boy Jr.
Written by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales
My rating: ★★★★½
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Date of publication: May 10, 2016
Age: 3 - 8 years
Themes: names, identity, family, Native American culture
Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that's all his own. Just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn't mean he wants to be Little Thunder. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he's done, like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder. But just when Thunder Boy Jr. thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name...a name that is sure to light up the sky.
It's simply wonderful. I admit, I'm skeptical when an author (who's bread and butter are novels for the more mature audience) takes on a picture book. But Alexie had done a fantastic job with plenty of humor ("People call me Little Thunder. That nickname makes me sound like a burp or a fart"), energy, and family love. Plus, the insight into Native American culture is great for kids, too. And then to pair it with Morales' illustrations! Genius. The vivid colors and bold strokes go well with Alexie's style and really bring the story to life.
The best part is, it's a perfect readaloud. It's great for storytime or it'd be fun to use in the classroom, and then have the kids work on what they would choose for their own names, based on their accomplishments or personalities. Overall, it's easy to recommend this book.
Find it at your library or on Amazon