Thunder Underground

This is a book of poems about things under the ground: moles, insects, drain pipes, pirate treasure, subways, magma pools, tree roots, etc. The poems were written over a number of years. The first illustrator (this would have been his first book) said yes, after the editor and I searched for the right artist for more than a year, quit partway into the work. The next illustrator–whose work I adore–had to put us on a list because she was so popular, she was booked up for several years ahead.

So this book took about eight years from start to publication. But it was well worth the wait.

What reviewers have said:

  • *STARRED REVIEW* “Twenty-one poems…encourage children to explore what is under their feet using imagination and wonder. (E)ach poem honors the ability of young readers to navigate syntax, imagery, and wordplay. Yolen’s treatment of the underground is expansive…(and) Masse’s mixed-media illustrations portray the imaginary points of view with aplomb. A thoughtful exploration of nature expressed in poetry that should open the eyes of children to unseen worlds.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • “…This collection illuminates the rich world of activity that goes on beneath our feet. The warm, naturalistic illustrations of underground scenes…often contain an element of charming whimsy…(and) nicely compliment the verses. Great for either a school or public library.” —Booklist
  • *STARRED REVIEW* “Yolen pays tribute to the natural…and the man-made…as well as musing on lost cities, (and) pirate treasure…Blending creativity with scientific fact, (her) poems appeal to readers’ imaginations and intellects alike.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • “Through a variety of poetic forms, readers will…uncover buried history…The text embodies wonder and factual information…The detailed illustrations…tie the book together and provide little Easter eggs for kids to notice on every page. For scientists and daydreamers, this…volume of poetry approaches the world from a variety of thought-provoking perspectives in an attractive and engaging package.” —School Library Journal
  • “Twenty-one poems invite children to consider the worlds―natural and manmade― beneath their feet…. shifting perspectives add a sense of playfulness. Notes…for each poem round out this title, offering extra information, conversation starters, and possibly inspiration for children to write about their own subterranean interests.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
  • “Through Yolen’s poems, we are reminded that we are bound to the Earth, all of its creatures, and one another.” —NCTE