The Longest Storm

minedition. Aug. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781662650475.
PreS-Gr 2–In a distinct but subtle parallel to the COVID-19 pandemic, a family finds themselves hunkering down in their home as an unexpected and dangerous storm rages outside. The three children, one dad, and one dog grow frustrated with their seemingly endless proximity and confinement, bickering over one thing after another—but when lightning flashes nearby, they rally around one another for comfort and find a renewed sense of solidarity that carries them to the day they can finally step outside again. Yaccarino’s illustrations draw readers’ eye with a charming mid-century aesthetic while bold colors and expressive lines adroitly convey mood. The straightforward prose is equally strong, capturing the tension and tedium of pandemic life with striking effectiveness (“There was nothing to do, and too much time to do it.”). This book is at once timely and timeless; whether readers interpret the main conflict as a pandemic or as a literal weather event, the story invites meaningful discussion about how people cope with hardships. Readers of all ages will be bolstered by the message about the resilience of familial love and the endurance of the human spirit.
VERDICT A first purchase for picture book collections. Nuanced, affirming, and relatable, this book will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

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