THE DUST BOWL by David Booth


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10
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 Booth (Doctor Knickerbocker and Other Rhymes, 1993, etc.) uses a present-day drought on a Canadian farm as a prompt for a grandfather's gritty reminiscence of the hardscrabble times during the 1930s Dust Bowl. Readers follow along a slow-moving narrative, hearing of dust and dirt everywhere, learning of towels stuffed in the cracks of doors, of children walking to school backwards to keep the wind from stinging their faces, and of clearing the dust from the nostrils of cows. The underlying theme suggests the fortitude and tenacity of overcoming hardship; the story itself comes across as a bit of a sleepy memoir, without a strong thread to connect it to the contemporary farm. The grandfather was a young married man during the ``Big Dry,'' so his perspective naturally remains an adult one. Laced with historical facts that may work best in a social-studies curriculum, the telling lacks emotion, and these male members of three generations don't have any personalities to draw readers in. The grainy, nostalgic illustrations in muted earth tones capture the energy of dust storms: A cloud of hot, sucking wind frightens the horse, knits the brow of the grandmother, and creases the faces of children walking against the wind. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-55074-295-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Kids Can
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1997


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