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Thunder Cake

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  5,465 ratings  ·  390 reviews
A loud clap of thunder booms, and rattles the windows of Grandma's old farmhouse. "This is Thunder Cake baking weather," calls Grandma, as she and her granddaughter hurry to gather the ingredients around the farm. A real Thunder Cake must reach the oven before the storm arrives. But the list of ingredients is long and not easy to find . . . and the storm is coming closer a ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published August 25th 1997 by Puffin Books (first published 1990)
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Lisa Vegan
Dec 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fearful children; all of my Goodreads friends who enjoy picture books
Oh, I’m glad that I was alone when I read this. I made peculiar sounds as I laughed at the illustrations of a cat that appears on many of the pages. Polacco draws cats so well. I also came close to crying, no surprise to me now with Polacco’s books.

This book is beautifully illustrated. The animals and people and settings are all painted so lovingly.

This is an apparently true story of how Patricia Polacco’s beloved grandmother helped her get over her fear of thunderstorms. What a creative and lov
Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We really enjoy Patricia Polacco's stories and so we look for them often at our local library. Lucky for us, she is a very prolific writer, so we still have a lot of her books to discover.

We borrowed this book as part of a kit from our local library, with an audiocassette and a paperback book with ISBN 0698115813 / ISBN13 9780698115811. It is narrated by the author and we enjoyed listening to the story as we followed along with the book.

We enjoyed the message of keeping busy to take your mind
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! As opposed to the usual perpetual heat and sunshine of our Septembers, we actually had some overcast weather this week and a few (mild) thunderstorms last weekend, so I felt perfectly in the mood for this book and that might have bumped this up to the five star rating ;-)

This is a fun, sweet (true) story about young Patricia who is afraid of thunderstorms when she visits her Babushka's (grandmother's) farm during the summer. Her grandma comes up with the idea to make a Thunder Cake, a
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: courage, emotions, family
This book is excellent for displaying courage in a time of fear and uncertainty. It's a great book to read to children that are afraid of thunderstorms. I like how the grandmother distracted the young girl from her fear by encouraging her to do something creative and constructive. This could even give parents some ideas on how to get their child to overcome a fear of thunderstorms.

Extension Activity: I would read this book to the class on a rainy day. Then I would have a classroom discussion ab
Crystal Marcos
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Thunder Cake is a great read aloud and gave me a clever idea for the next thunderstorm here in the Pacific Northwest. I will be making my first Thunder Cake or Thunder Cupcakes, maybe even just call it Thunder Baking. I am excited to fend off the fear of thunder in my daughter's early years. She is really into getting into the kitchen to help mommy and daddy. I certainly think this book could aid with any child's fear of thunder.

This wonderful story is based on the authors own life experience wi
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Personal response- This is one of my favorite Polacco books. I particularly like the character of the grandmother and the fact that Polacco based this story on own her childhood experience with her grandmother helped Patricia to overcome her fear of thunderstorms. I grew up with the same system of counting the time between a flash of lightning and thunder to judge how close the heart of the thunderstorm was so that makes it a special book to me, too.

Read aloud for enrichment
- the story i
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco is a story of a grandmother helping her granddaughter get over her fear of thunder. This is done by making a cake during a storm, the cake being called "thunder cake". One interesting aspect Patricia Polacco puts in the book is the information of how to tell the distance a storm is away from you. The suspense begins to build as the young girl continues to count and notice the storm is getting closer. The illustrations show the hectic activity of the characters as ...more
Sep 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to booklady by: Mamie
I think I read this to my kids when they were little; it really does seem familiar. Anyway, I'm hoping that I did because it's absolutely delightful! The story is based on a childhood memory of the author; her grandmother teaches her to overcome her fears by gathering the ingredients and preparing a cake before the storm can arrive. Sweet, poignant and funny too! Highly recommended!

And best of all, the author has written many other children's books, or so my friend, the mother of the children I
Apr 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: children frightened of storms
Shelves: picture
This sweet story of a little girl who is frightened of thunder suggests a gentle way of dealing with childhood fears.

Someday I'll have to try the recipe -- chocolate cake with tomato in it!
Emily Holter
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thunder Cake is a Danish contemporary realistic fiction book that tells the story of a young girl and her grandmother trying to forget the powerful thunderstorm coming in on them by making a cake. This book would be appealing to children as for some of them are quite scared of thunderstorms. The young girl in the story is also very much afraid of the storm, so children can definitely relate to her. Her grandmother is also a very warm character in the book and children can look at her just as the ...more
Brittney Griffith
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is an amazing read for children and adults. It ties culture, food and fear together in a unique way. Patricia Polacco tells the story of her Russian grandmother and how her "Babushka" helps her overcome her fear of thunderstorms. Any child can relate to this book just based on the idea that at some point we are all afraid of thunderstorms. It ties in the Russian grandmother on her farm in Michigan and how she creatively came up with a recipe which she called "Thunder Cake". The best pa ...more
Jared Burton
Jun 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: english-353
Polacco, Patricia. Thunder Cake. New York: Philomel Books, 1990.
This is a book about a little girl who is scared of thunder, and her grandma who helps her get over this fear by having her help her make "thunder cake." The thunder cake calls for different ingredients that require a certain bravery to acquire. After the cake is in the oven, the grandma recalls all that the little girl did in order to get the cake ingredients, she tells her that anyone who can do all those things should not be afr
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Thunder Cake tells the inspirational story of a little girl who is afraid of thunder. She hides under her bed until her grandmother instructs her to preoccupy her time worrying about making the Thunder Cake in time for the thunder. Her grandmother tells her that while they gather the ingredients on the farm for the cake, she should start counting when the lightning strikes and then stop counting when the thunder rolls. She told her this would tell her how many miles away the thunder is. This is ...more
Jun 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Thunder Cake is among my favorite children's books. Not only is Patricia Polacco a talented storyteller, her illustrations are unique, realistic, yet slightly whimsical.

My mom bought this book when I was a kid. I had already overcome my fear of thunder (if that was ever a fear of mine) so the book didn't help me out with that. But I DID enjoy the cake we made. The Thundercake recipe is in the back - and it's splendid.

I got the book for a fun re-read and so I'd have the recipe this summer when th
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
A little girl is afraid of the loud voice of thunder striking. Her Babushka (grandmother) tells her little scared granddaughter that it is perfect Thunder Cake baking weather and off they go to gather all the ingredients, all the while the thunder is getting closer and louder. By the time the thunder storm reaches Babushka's house, they are enjoying the yummy Thunder Cake. Warm colored folk-art emphasizes the warm family feelings of this story.

Polacco includes the recipe on the last page of the
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thunder Cake is a good book about a little girl and her Grandma who is helping her granddaughter cope with her fear of thunderstorms. This is a great book for parents and educators to share with their children and students to help them see that they are not the only kids with fears. I did find it a little strange that the Grandma is using overly ripened tomatoes. One thing I really like about the book is that the Grandma taught the child to get over her fears by doing a lot of other daunting tas ...more
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I added this to my list 3 yrs ago. So glad to finally read it. Very sweet story of a young girl and her Russian grandmother(Babushka). The little girl is scared by the thunder and is comforted by the grandmother.I loved the reassuring voice of the grandmother throughout the book. They gather ingredients for a Thunder Cake and I like how the little girl faces her fears. The grandmother teaches the girl that after you see lightning you count and when you hear the thunder you stop counting and that ...more
Julie DiFranco
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book because it reminded me of how I was scared of thunderstorms as a child just like the young girl. This is a great read for anyone who has a fear of thunderstorms. It has an adventure with the text because from the moment the first thunderclap is heard, Grandma and Granddaughter must hurry to find the ingredients to make the thunder cake and put it in the oven before the storm arrives. Do they get the thunder cake in the over before the storm arrives? This book i ...more
Kaitlyn Skovran
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Patricia Polacco will always have a place in my heart! I loved her books and the illustrations as a child and even now as an adult. I can't wait to read this to kids in a classroom, my niece or anyone who wants to listen! Thunder Cake helped me get over my fear of storms, just as her Babushka did. My favorite illustration is of the little girl and her Babushka, with the ingredient list. The illustrations flow through the book and the text isn't too difficult to understand for a small child eithe ...more
I've loved this book for some time, that's why I enjoy rereading it every chance I get. The story of a grandma helping her granddaughter overcome her fear of thunderstorms is one which will resonate with many readers; I still get a little nervous during severe weather. As they gather all the ingredients to make Thunder Cake, the little girl is so busy getting eggs from the mean chicken, walking to the dry shed, and picking tomatoes (that's right), that she isn't as frightened by the approaching ...more
There is nothing like the love and lessons learned from a grandmother. A little girl, afraid of thunder, is unaware that she is overcoming her fears as she races to help her Grandmother make a thunder cake before the storm arrives. The grandmother is able to discretely revert the child’s attention away from her fears by giving her a time-sensitive task to focus on. In the end, the grandmother guides the child into realizing her own inner bravery.
Jennifer Binns
Thunder Cake is another great story telling of family tradition from Polacco. The young girl and her grandmother prepare a "Thunder Cake" as a storm is coming in. As they prepare to get the ingredients for the meal by going into the different animal sheds, the young girl becomes less afraid of the impending storm.
Liz Stoneking
Aug 20, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was a win for my little future baker. When she saw the recipe she immediately wanted to bake her own Thunder Cake. Delicious. I remember reading it as a child and enjoyed sharing that nostalgia with my own kids.
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a fun story to read aloud. Every time there's lightning, the kids count until it thunders. The tomatoes make this cake truly special. And, of course, here's a wise way to address a child's fears.
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sweet story about a grandmother calming her granddaughter's fear of thunder by gathering ingredients while the thunder rages. Complete with recipe. I loved reading this to my own granddaughter, and when she left my house, she thanked me for reading that book with her. :)
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ellie, jacob, mom
All of Patricia Polacco books are just delightful...krb 8/21/17
Anya Gupta
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I like it when grandma asked the girl to count how many miles away is thunder to make her not be afraid of thunder.
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
I loved everything about this story. Being a grandmother myself, I hope I can settle the fears of my grandchildren as this grandmother did. And, there is a recipe at the end for Thunder Cake.
Bicky Mgr
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
this was a exciting book. i will recommend it to my friends.
Sydnee Gann
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
This picture book follows a grandma and her granddaughter's race against time to bake a cake before the storm reaches. Will they collect all the ingredients and have the cake in the oven before the storm hits?

I really love this book and the grandma's secret agenda to calm her granddaughter down!

I think I could use this book on a stormy day, as I am sure I will have many children scared of thunderstorms. Maybe I will think of a task, as the grandma did with the thunder cake, to distract my stude
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Patricia Polacco is a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator with over 115 beloved and award-winning books to her credit, including The Keeping Quilt, Pink and Say, The Blessing Cup, Chicken Sunday, and Thank You, Mr. Falker. She resides in Michigan.
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