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Children's Nonfiction Weather

Zap! Clap! Boom!

The Story of a Thunderstorm

by (author) Laura Purdie Salas

illustrated by Elly Mackay

Initial publish date
Feb 2023
Recommended Age
3 to 6
Recommended Grade
p to 1
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Explore the life cycle of a thunderstorm in this informative and engaging picture book.
Morning's calm. Outside is still. A blue-forever day until . . .
The real beginning of a thunderstorm happens long before the first raindrop falls.
No rain yet. It's just a threat-
a rising cloud, a towering plume, then . . .
Follow along as the weather changes, from a blue-sky day to a brewing storm, from a brewing storm to a dazzling downpour, and from a dazzling downpour to the breathtaking moment when the sky emits a-
Laura Purdie Salas's dynamic text and Elly MacKay's vibrant art offer the perfect introduction to the science of weather and the forces that work together to create a storm. The next time nature puts on a dramatic thunder and lightning show, readers will be ready to find a cozy spot near a window and watch the storm unfold.
An author's note delves deeper into the science of thunderstorms.

About the authors

Laura Purdie Salas is the author of more than 130 books for kids, including If You Were the Moon, Water Can Be . . ., and BookSpeak! Poems about Books. Poetry and rhyming nonfiction books are her favorite things to write. Laura loves to do author visits, writing workshops, and teacher inservices. Read more about Laura and her work at

Laura Purdie Salas' profile page

Elly MacKay creates tiny worlds from cut paper, ink and light, which she then photographs. Her work explores themes of nature, childhood and the imaginary. Elly’s work has been featured in international publications, including O: The Oprah Magazine, Chatelaine and Cosmopolitan. She grew up in a converted church in the countryside by Georgian Bay, Ontario. She now explores the same rivers, forests and beaches with her husband, Simon, and their two kids, Lily and Koen. For more information, visit

Elly Mackay's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“The fluid, rhyming text offers some basic facts about thunderstorms; the well-researched back matter presents a more detailed account . . . McKay's illustrations beautifully capture both the changing weather phenomena and the children's reactions. An informative read-aloud choice for home or classroom.” —Booklist, starred review
"Science collides with poetry in Zap! Clap! Boom!: The Story of a Thunderstorm, in which Laura Purdie Salas's pit-a-pat rhymes match the tempo of a rain shower, and Elly MacKay's art rivals the drama of a real atmospheric disturbance." - Shelf Awareness
“With eye-catching art and lines that roll off the tongue, this book would be well-suited to raucous but stealthily informative science-based story hour.” —BCCB
“MacKay's intricate layered-paper illustrations capture the way the storm touches every part of the island . . . Salas's onomatopoeic verse conveys both the ferocity of a thunderstorm and the wonder it can inspire; it begs to be read aloud.” —The Horn Book
“The book is a perfect read-aloud . . . A lovely, vocabulary-stretching, story-hour gift for a cozy day.” —School Library Journal
“The buildup and arrival of a wild thunderstorm offers both eye-widening drama and lessons in atmospheric phenomena . . . A crashing success.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A handsome, original book for reading aloud each spring.” —Booklist on SNOWMAN - COLD = PUDDLE
“[A] contemplative and thought-provoking ode to the forms water takes and the functions it serves, both practical and whimsical.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review, on WATER CAN BE . . .
“Richly rewarding and clever: a visually arresting, inventive treatment of a popular subject.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review, on LION OF THE SKY

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