Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Published by Little, Brown, and Co. 

Thunder Boy Jr. (Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards)): Alexie,  Sherman, Morales, Yuyi: 9780316013727: Books

Summary:   Thunder Boy, Jr. has a secret.  He hates his name.  He’s named after his father, and he wants his own name, preferably one that celebrates something cool he’s done like Touch the Clouds for the time he climbed a mountain or Gravity’s Best Friend for his bike-riding skills.  While he’s trying to figure out how to tell his father that he wants a new name, Dad comes along and suggests that from now on he be called Lightning.  Delighted, Lightning goes off with Thunder Boy, Senior to light up the sky.  40 pages; ages 3-7.

Pros:  Plenty of humor and Yuyi Morales’ lively illustrations recount a problem other kids may relate to, not liking your name.  The names and the illustrations suggest a Native American family, a welcome addition to the multicultural bookshelf..

Cons:  The ending was a bit of an anticlimax.  Also, be aware the story contains the f-word.  (Fart, that is.)

2 thoughts on “Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales

  1. As a fan of Alexie’s adult and YA stuff, I was really looking forward to this book, It felt disappointing on several levels though. One one hand, we’re insufficiently introduced to this idea of naming, though it’s varies among indigenous nations (something an author’s note might have helped with), and yet on the other hand, it felt unsatisfactory since in the end since Thunder Boy Jr. is still not able to choose his own name–he is named again by his father. And end, though this may fit in with general naming traditions, it feels anti-climactical for a traditional PB format which usually empowers the child, even if it’s not “realistic.”


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