Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thunder Underground (Jane Yolen)

Title:  Thunder Underground

Author:  Jane Yolen

Illustrator:   Josee Masse

Target Ages:  5-10

Genre:  Poetry

Publisher Summary: 
What is under your feet?
Ant cities
Fox dens
Rabbit warrens

Now dig deeper.
Forgotten towns
Fossilized bones

What other secrets hide deeper still beneath your shoes?

Favorite Poem:

“Corny Conversations”
It sounds too odd
for us to hear,
corn plants can talk,
not mouth to ear.
But with a strange
and clicking sound,
their taproots speak
beneath the ground.
We don’t know what
corn rootlings say
when they communicate
this way.
But scientific studies
they do this as they
grow and grow
and grow.

I am drawn to poetry that brings out the wonder of the world, utilizes imaginative language, and teaches a little science at the same time.  It makes me wish I was still an elementary teacher.  Poetry brings out the spectacle and awe of the world that science textbooks sorely lack.

Thunder Underground can be used along with several science units to start a lesson or to prompt writing across the curriculum:
  • Insects
  • Plants
  • Paleontology/Dinosaurs
  • Volcanoes
  • Earthquakes
  • Archeology
  • Geology
Yolen uses a variety of poetry styles from haiku to free verse.  Each one brings out a new angle about the hidden world below from the natural to the man-made (subway, basement).  Some of the information is common knowledge for adults, but not necessarily so for children.  Other fascinating facts will surprise many like plants communicating with each other and the sound of beetles walking underground. 

I love Josee Masse’s illustrations.  Each page turn offers a sweeping look at the world—both above and below the surface—with deep colors and stunning depictions. Two inquisitive children (a boy and a girl) are often pictured observing and inquiring. 

Poetry and science collide to make a wondrous experience in Thunder Underground.  It is a must have for an elementary school classroom or home collection.  These poems are sure to encourage children to think about the many unseen and unknown aspects of the world. 

For more great poems and poetry book selections, visit this week's Poetry Friday.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Oh, goodness. I'm so glad I stopped by today to see your review of this book. What fun and what WONDER! I've seen articles about how plants "talk" but this poem takes the "huh?" of that to a new level. Great visit today. Thanks for posting.

  3. The book is on my list, looks and sounds like a wonderful summer one!

  4. YOu had me hooked at Jane Yolen, and then when you shared the poem about corn talking (really--I had no idea) I want more! This book looks amazing!


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