Zap! Clap! BOOM!
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Awards & Honors

Zap! Clap! Boom! The Story of a Thunderstorm

Written by Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrated by Elly MacKay
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2023
ISBN: 978-1547602254 40 pages


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... ZAP! CLAP! BOOM!
Sunny day sits warm and dry.
No wind,
no rain,
no stormy sky.

Morning's calm.
Outside is still.
A blue-forever day,


Journal Reviews

The fluid, rhyming text offers some basic facts about thunderstorms; the well-researched back matter presents a more detailed account...[T]his picture book offers several opportunities for kids to chime in on the repeated zaps, claps, and booms.
—Booklist, Carolyn Phelan
A crashing success.
—Kirkus Reviews
The book is a perfect read-aloud…Don’t miss the thunder science section at the end—a gift.
—School Library Journal
It begs to be read aloud.
—The Horn Book
Salas’ text is lively and lyrical…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.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Salas imbues the stormy scene with a Halloweeny menace: “Wind blows fiercely,/ howls/ and shrieks./ The world/ groans slowly,/ shivers,/ creaks”; MacKay uses bruise-like purples and blues to capture nature at its fiercest.
—Shelf Awareness

Reader Reactions

I actually do get asked for rhyming nonfiction from time to time, and as anyone who has ever had to page through a dull Seussian attempt will tell you, that can go real wrong, real fast. But Salas, I am happy to report, is a true pro and best of all she’s been paired with Elly MacKay! I’ve been waiting years for MacKay to be given the right project and here, at least, we have it! This is a really good readaloud, with all kinds of interactive elements to enjoy. I can see a librarian getting a whole room of kids to repeat “Zap! Clap! Boom!” together. Add in the almost marbled, iridescent art with its vague hints of three-dimensionality and you’ve got yourself a hit.

—Betsy Bird, School Library Journal

Downloadable Activities

Life Cycle of a Thunderstorm
Storm Life Cycle

Photo Gallery

About to read Zap! Clap! Boom! at a St. Paul Saints game
Zap! Blap! Boom! is a Blueberry Honor Book!
The Blueberry recognizes fabulous nature books
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2023_0401_reading zap
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How this Book Got Started

I grew up in Florida, and I loved the frequent summer thunderstorms! When I started writing rhyming nonfiction, thunderstorms was one of the first topics I thought of. I wrote this manuscript in 2008, but it didn't sell to a publisher until 2018. It finally became a gorgeous picture book (thank you, Elly MacKay) in 2023! Picture book publishing is really difficult for impatient writers.

Poems I've Written

These poems connect to this book in topic, theme, or form—great for text-to-text connections!

Digging for Poems - Wind
thunder storm
What the Rain Knows

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