Written by Jane Yolen, Illustrated by Josée Masse
Jane Yolen is determined to get young readers to become aware of what’s under the ground, or what she calls “our Earth’s fast-beating heart.” With remarkably inspiring verse, she urges them to understand that “knowledge grounds a power base, so seek out knowledge touched by grace./Start below, reach for the sky, and like the caterpillar/fly.” This beautiful verse is followed by pages of poems of under-the-ground scenarios that readers likely seldom stop to think of – of seeds in the ground (“Seeds”), of corns in the fields (“Corny Conversations”), and the squeaky, clicking, clacking, muffled roar of beetles scuttling under the earth. There is also the scratching and scrunching sounds made while they eat – from which comes the title, “Thunder Underground”.
Verses describing earthworms, ants, moles, rabbits, and fossils also follow, along with others on forces of nature, including earthquakes, underground rivers, and even magma pools: “So, should we wait/An Age or two/To see what magma pools/Can do?” Some manmade phenomena are also included, as well, for good measure.
Jane Yolen is the author of the Holocaust novella, The Devil’s Arithmetic. She also wrote the award-winning short story Sister Emily's Lightship, the novelette Lost Girls, Owl Moon, The Emperor and the Kite, the Commander Toad series and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight. Montreal-based Josée Masse has illustrated for the American Girl series, as well as What Ship is not a Ship and Follow, Follow. (Ages 7-11 years)