When thunder comes rolling across the summer sky and some small person in your family wants to crawl under the bed, this warmhearted and wittily illustrated book may prove an ideal antidote. The story in Thunder Cake draws on the author’s loving memories of childhood visits to her grandmother’s farm in Michigan. Grandma, a Russian immigrant, is both wily and wise. She knows just how to distract Patricia from her fear of an approaching storm by measuring its distance, and then scurrying to bake a ”thunder cake” before it arrives.
Patricia barely has time to notice her nervousness as she collects eggs, milk, and other ingredients. By the time the storm breaks, she and Grandma are settling down to a delicious wedge of chocolate cake and a cozy cup of tea from the samovar. Patricia is surprised to realize how brave she has been.
The approaching storm and its crackles and ka-booms lend suspense and drama to the story, while the illustrations, bright with folk-art patterns, add lively movement and details. The grandmother’s affectionate understanding of the child is delightful. And the recipe given at the back of the book, complete with secret ingredient, just might come in handy. A