Summary of Thunder Rose:
On a summer night during a fierce thunder storm, a lively baby is born. Rather than cry out while taking her first breath of life, she sits up and takes hold of the lightning and thunder. Then, she tells her parents she is partial to the name Rose, so they call her Thunder Rose. Full of spunk, determination, and confidence, Thunder Rose accomplishes everything she sets out to do. She amazes her parents by drinking her milk while holding up a cow, creating objects with scrap metal, staking a fence without assistance, and building a sky scraper—all before the age of ten! At the age of 12, she single-handedly takes down the leader of a pack of 2700 wild cattle with her quick wit and song, making them a part of her family’s herd on their Old West ranch. Later that year, as she drives those cattle to market in Abilene, she utilizes some spare metals rods she always carries to lasso a gang of desperadoes and deliver them to a local jail. During the long journey, the air is so dry and sour that she lassos a cloud in an attempt to squeeze some rain out of it. The cloud fights back and develops into a vicious double tornado which Thunder Rose successfully placates with a sweet melody. Finally, “a soft, drenching-and-soaking rain” falls as she journeys on to Abilene. Rose realizes the power of the music of her heart. Stories of her amazing abilities spreads like wildfire throughout the West.
Jerdine Nolen’s Thunder Rose is a feisty protagonist. She knows nothing of fear or failure. She is determined and creative in her problem solving and daily activities. The plot is full of action and playful exaggeration. The picturesque watercolor illustrations (by Kadir Nelson) capture the beauty of the landscape and the daring spirit of Thunder Rose. This tall tale inspires and amuses.