Jerdine Nolen
Thunder Rose
Kadir Nelson, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003
book covers
books in alphabetical order
  Thunder Rose


One hopelessly stormy night, an especially hopeful child was born. She came to be known as Thunder Rose.

Right from the start, Rose decided she would do more than just grow up to be good and strong, thank you very kindly!

And, indeed, she does. Rose grows up to soothe the rankest of beasts and subdue the wiliest of outlaws. With her trusty steer, Tater, at her side, there seems to be no mountain too high and no desert too dry for Rose.

But when a whirling storm on a riotous rampage threatens, has Rose finally met her match? Don't be too sure. Wrought from the thunderous voice of Jerdine Nolen, and forged under the smoldering touch of Kadir Nelson, Thunder Rose is a heroine with more mettle than we've ever seen before.


Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor


“Thunder Rose is an African-American child born on a stormy night abuzz with booming thunder, flashing lightning, and hailing rain. Her parents are awestruck by her remarkable gifts, which include forming a ball out of lightning, speaking in full sentences minutes after her birth, and snoring through a booming, thunderous rumble. It is clear that Rose is no ordinary child. She can lift a cow over her head and almost drink it dry, and as she grows, she does incredible metalwork with scraps of iron she finds around the ranch. She uses her handiwork to restrain cattle, round up would-be rustlers, and lasso and squeeze the rain out of the clouds. She fearlessly faces down a couple of tornadoes and calms them with her ‘song of thunder.’ Nolen and Nelson offer up a wonderful tale of joy and love, as robust and vivid as the wide West. The oil, watercolor, and pencil artwork is outstanding. A splendid, colorful, and most welcome addition to the tall-tale genre.” (Andrea Tarr, Corona Public Library, CA, School Library Journal)

“An exuberant tall tale with an irresistible African American heroine. The night Thunder Rose was born to her parents, the thunder gave her her name, and she rolled the lightning into a ball and put it on her shoulder. By the next day, she was lifting a whole cow for a drink of milk. At two, she wove a pile of scrap iron into a thunderbolt; at twelve, she invented barbed wire, stopped a stampede, and captured a band of desperadoes. Thunder Rose even turns away a tornado with her song and the depth of her ‘fortunate feeling.’ The watercolor, oil, and pencil illustrations capture the Wild West vistas, the textures of grass and homespun cloth, and the character's personalities, even that of Tater, Rose's trusty steer. Best of all, however, is Rose herself, the color of polished mahogany, with enough sass and savvy to overcome any obstacle. A terrific read-aloud.” (GraceAnne DeCandido, Booklist)

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