Thunder Boy Jr.|Sherman Alexie
Thunder Boy Jr.
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From New York Times bestselling author Sherman Alexie and Caldecott Honor winning Yuyi Morales comes a striking and beautifully illustrated picture book celebrating the special relationship between father and son.

Thunder Boy Jr. wants a normal that's all his own. Dad is known as big Thunder, but little thunder doesn't want to share a name. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he's done like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder.

But just when Little Thunder thinks all hope is lost, dad picks the best name...Lightning Their love will be loud and bright, and together they will light up the sky.


  • ISBN-13: 9780316013727
  • ISBN-10: 0316013722
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publish Date: May 2016
  • Dimensions: 9.8 x 9.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.95 pounds
  • Page Count: 40
  • Reading Level: Ages 5-8

Dedicated to Dad

No doubt about it—Dad’s pretty rad! Show him some love on June 19 with one of the stellar books featured below. These sweet celebrations of fatherhood will inspire a bit of dad-kiddo bonding.

Bertie, a floppy-eared pup, looks up to his pop—and no wonder. A builder who gets to drive big machines on construction sites, Bertie’s father works hard. In The Best Part of Daddy’s Day, Claire Alexander follows this adorable duo through their daily routines. Breakfast comes first, then Bertie goes to class with his dog pals, and Daddy heads off to construct a giant tower. At school, Bertie works on a tower made of blocks and thinks happily of his pop, but a trip-up in the cafeteria puts a damper on his day. Back at home, he tells Daddy about the mishap, only to learn that accidents happen to grown-ups, too! Alexander’s warmhearted illustrations feature delicate lines and soft washes of color, and her canine characters have loads of charm. 

Brian Lies’ oh-so-clever Gator Dad features a reptile father with a suitably wild parenting style. After rousing his three gator kids out of bed and exhorting them to “squeeze the day,” Gator Dad prepares breakfast for his brood, flipping fried fish from pan to plate with panache. Then it’s time to run errands, which entails whizzing around the supermarket in a cart and hitting the playground for a session on the swings (“I’ll help you try to touch the moon,” Papa promises). At home, the gang builds a fort from the living room furniture. But make no mistake—Gator Dad is in complete control. By story’s end, his crew is bathed and ready for bed. In his genius acrylic illustrations, Lies contrasts his characters’ gator-ness with their city surroundings, lending the story surreal appeal. This is big fun for Father’s Day—or any day.

Profound yet playful, Sherman Alexie’s debut picture book, Thunder Boy Jr., is an out-of-the-ordinary father-son story and a delight from start to finish. Little Thunder, the American Indian boy who narrates the tale, is named after his father, Big Thunder. “My dad is awesome,” he says. “But I don’t want to have the same name as him. . . . I want a name that sounds like me.” So Little Thunder brainstorms names that celebrate what he enjoys. One possibility, “Drums, Drums, and More Drums,” is prompted by his love of pow wows. “Old Toys Are Awesome” is inspired by family garage-sale excursions. The problem is solved when (surprise!) Dad gives Little Thunder a new name, one that’s just right. Yuyi Morales’ buoyant illustrations feature colors that pop, bold word balloons and textures that make you want to touch the page. This wise yet accessible story is bound to become a year-round read.


This article was originally published in the June 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.