The Storm in the Barn

The Storm in the Barn

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In Kansas in the year 1937, eleven-year-old Jack Clark faces his share of ordinary challenges: local bullies, his father's failed expectations, a little sister with an eye for trouble. But he also has to deal with the effects of the Dust Bowl, including rising tensions in his small town and the spread of a shadowy illness. Certainly a case of "dust dementia" would explain who (or what) Jack has glimpsed in the Talbot's abandoned barn - a sinister figure with a face like rain. In a land where it never rains, it's hard to trust what you see with your own eyes, and harder still to take heart and be a hero when the time comes.
Publisher: Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780763636180
Branch Call Number: [GN] FIC/PHELAN
Characteristics: 201 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
AnnabelleLee27 Nov 06, 2016

Atmospheric and compelling graphic novel set in Dust Bowl times. Phelan's artwork doesn't disappoint and depiction of various characters has depth and complexity. A strange and fascinating story.

CRRL_AdrianaP Feb 25, 2014

The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan is a powerful graphic novel exploring the devastation of the 1937 Dust Bowl in Kansas, as experienced by an 11-year-old boy, Jack.. Realistic and fantasy elements are both included in the storyline. Children who read this will also recognize the very realistic and almost universal element of the bullying that Jack experiences from other boys in the town; his differing relationships with his siblings - tender with his older, ill sister and exasperated with his younger, reckless sister; and his strained relationship with his father, who perpetually makes Jack feel useless. The fantasy element is the Storm King, who appears as a ghastly spectre dragging along a case containing thunder. Of course there is an epic battle - but you'll have to read this book to find out who wins.

May 07, 2013

The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan is a graphic novel that seems to be a blend of a folk tale with a coming of age story. Set in 1930’s Kansas, the artwork depicts the dust, wind and dryness of the countryside.

The tall tale of the story comes when Jack meets a watery presence in the barn next door and realizes he must be the one to defeat this monster in order to bring the rain back.

A simple, heart-felt story that was an interesting, quick read and the plain, unadorned illustrations captures the bleakness of the landscape and the hopelessness of the people living in it.

snicholson76 Apr 20, 2013

Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, this graphic novel tells the story of a boy surviving in the Dust Bowl with his family. Not only are the historical elements spot-on, but there is an element of American folklore woven into the story that makes this a story of both survival as well as triumph over evil. Excellent!

forbesrachel Apr 15, 2013

Some beautiful watercolour drawings accompany this simple and slightly magical tale.

ChristchurchLib Mar 26, 2013

"Set in Kansas around the same time as the events in The Wizard of Oz, this spooky, suspenseful story stars an 11-year-old boy named Jack. Jack feels useless on his family's farm - and what with failing crops, rampant dust storms, and his older sister sick with dust pneumonia, he's frustrated that there's nothing he can do to help. But after Jack spots a shadowy figure hanging around a nearby abandoned barn, he investigates...and winds up being a hero, like the fabled "Jack"s of fairy tales. Part historical fiction, part thrilling supernatural mystery, and completely spellbinding, this award-winning novel will give you the shivers." March 2013 Kids' Books newsletter

angiem99 Mar 24, 2012

Love it. It was so nice, the drawings were really inspiring and could express everything the writer is trying to tell. Very nice story too.

Oct 19, 2011

for audio?

LocketLibrarian May 03, 2011

I love this book. The sparse text allows the reader to interpret Jack as they see fit. It is a standout graphic novel, and should sway opinions of those who don't think GNs are "real books."


Add Age Suitability
CRRL_AdrianaP Feb 25, 2014

CRRL_AdrianaP thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

LocketLibrarian May 03, 2011

LocketLibrarian thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SDPL

To Top