In the title character of Tornado, Newbery Medal-winning author Betsy Byars has created an endearing canine character whose personality will stay with young readers long after they finish this enjoyable chapter book. Pete, a hired hand, is in the cellar waiting out a tornado with the family he works for. To take their minds off the storm raging outside, he tells them a true story:
When he was a young boy, a tornado struck his family's farm, bringing with it a doghouse, complete with a dog inside! Tornado, as the dog is aptly named, turns out to be a remarkable fellow, and in the chapters that follow, Pete tells how the clever dog performs a card trick, hides a turtle in his mouth, and confronts a stray cat who dares to sit in his favorite spot. The young Pete and his father give the dog back to the rightful owners when they meet them in town, but anxious readers shouldn't worry; that isn't the last Pete sees of his beloved Tornado.
Told with an undercurrent of gentle humor, Pete's stories beg to be read aloud. The presence, however, of nostalgic, soft-focus black-and-white illustrations in each chapter ensures that individual readers also feel welcome. The seamless placement of the dog stories within the framing context of the present-day twister makes Tornado a warmly satisfying read.