First, the full disclosure. Paul has been a very dear friend for many years. I’ve watched this project him from the first sketches of the mighty chicken to an animated short to this first book in a series. I’m so proud of him and all the work he has done to bring Thundercluck to life. That said, if I didn’t truly believe in it, I wouldn’t be praising it. I could have easily given him a pat on the back and moved on. But Thundercluck truly is something special and I know people will love it as much as I do.
In the Norse gods’ kingdom of Asgard, Thor accidentally throws a thunderbolt at his henhouse. He zaps an egg who eventually hatches into a different sort of chicken. Thundercluck isn’t like other birds, not least because he’s become a best friend to a young Brunhilde. The girl and the chicken spend many idyllic days together before they are called to save Asgard from Gorman Bones, an evil chef.
The two have to defeat multiple challenges, solve clues and outsmart henchmen in their quest. They have to learn to be brave and how to trust. Along the way, they realize they are each stronger than they realized. And more than anything, they are their best selves when they are together.
The staircase led to a shadowy basement. It smelled like woods and mystery. Thundercluck squinted but saw nothing. ~ Pg. 37
Yes, it’s a middle grade children’s book but it is very funny. It is packed with clever puns and references, and never talks down to its reader. There is plenty of rich, Norse mythology woven into the story. Like a Pixar movie, adults will certainly enjoy reading this with their kids — or on their own, truthfully. They certainly won’t mind the sly suggestion that doing the dishes promptly is probably for the best.
Thundercluck stepped back and felt something against his foot. He looked down and saw a scrub brush. It looked like it had never been used. ~Pg. 221
It’s well-written, with plenty of interesting and challenging words for the enthusiastic young reader. The themes of friendship, bravery, self-worth and adventure are a good reminder at any age. Here’s to many more adventures with Thundercluck.
Age Range: 8 – 11 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (September 18, 2018)
My thanks to Morgan at MacMillan for the advance copy.