Monday, April 24, 2023

Today's read... I Am a Tornado by Drew Beckmeyer

Today's read addresses a theme, which, I'll admit, sometimes makes me a little nervous. Like many of you, my thoughts on tornadoes carry a slightly more serious edge, thanks to living much of life in higher tornado zones. Even today, we have our spot in the basement, where we head, at least, a couple times each year. We even lost power two years ago for a week because a tornado took out the power lines (tons of trees, barns and a home or two) only a few miles down the road (like 3-4). Still, there's the lighter side to these amazing things as well, and I giggle when I think of some of the 'tornado' tendencies my own kids embody. I was curious to see where this tornado leads...and am thankful that it's not my cow that is spinning above its eyes!

by Drew Beckmeyer
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Picture Book
40 pages 
ages 4 to 8

MAY 9th!!! 

An emotionally unaware tornado carves a path of destruction until it picks up a very empathetic cow in this quirky and sweet picture book about compassion and navigating negative emotions.

Tornado is on a rampage. It tosses cars and knocks over barns. Tornado is also angry, only it doesn’t know that or want to admit it. Then Tornado picks up Cow. Oh, no! Cow would like to be put down. Fortunately, Cow is a good listener. And sometimes Tornado just needs to be heard.



With thought and heart, this is a cute tale, which leaves a smile on the face and a tiny spin of thoughts to think about.

This tornado is ready to destroy everything in its path. Violent and moody, it heads down its path, but when it runs into a cow, an unexpected conversation starts. The cow takes the time and patience to listen to the tornado...and might even be able to calm it down.

These pages take a spot-on-glance at raging emotions, one which listeners/readers will have no problem identifying with. After all, who doesn't want to rip everything around them to shreds, at times? On the same hand, it's very easy to sympathize with the poor cow as it's caught up in the fury...completely innocent and in a very dangerous situation. This contrast is a clever way to have readers/listeners understanding both sides right away. Also, the cow takes the time and patience (despite being in a life-threatening position) to listen to the tornado and truly understand its position, which calms the tornado down to demonstrate how an open ear can work wonders. It's a powerful image with a clear message that sits. And just as important, it holds enough humor and fun to make it more than an enjoyable read.

The illustrations and text balance into a lovey read-aloud. The text is simple. direct, and allows the person reading it out loud to a group to have quite a bit of fun (if desired). The images support the humor, while making the situations clear. It keeps everything entertaining and grabbing the entire way through. To top it off, there is a tiny bit of information about tornados woven in, too.

It's a fun read aloud, which makes a good point.

And here he is...

Drew Beckmeyer is an author-illustrator and schoolteacher based in Los Angeles who definitely and absolutely never gets upset and never has a hard time admitting something is wrong. Never ever. He is the author-illustrator of I Am a Tornado and The Long Island, which was longlisted for the Klauss Flugge Prize, and the illustrator of Dear Wild Child. Visit him online at 

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