Hurricane by David Wiesner
David and George are preparing to ride out a hurricane with their parents inside their home. They experience it for the first time: the house creaking against the wind, the lights going out. It's an adventure. They have supper by the fireplace that evening and as they go to bed, the two brothers share all they know about hurricanes. The next morning they walk outside their home to look at the damage left behind by the hurricane. One of the two old elms in their back yard has been completely uprooted and lays across their yard and all they way into their neighbor's.
Up to this point in the story David Wiesner's watercolor illustrations are quite realistic. But once they brothers discover the fallen tree, Wiesner transports us into magical worlds imagined by the boys with the tree as the protagonist. They imagine being in the jungle one day, then the tree becomes a boat sailing the seven seas, a spaceship, a hiding spot. "The tree was a private place, big enough for secret dreams, small enough for shared adventure." When workers come to remove the tree, the brother's are heartbroken. Last we see them, they are looking up at the remaining elm, hoping the rain might bring new adventures.
Hurricane is successful in two very different ways: describing the experience of riding out a hurricane from the point of view of children, and also in showing the imaginative play world of kids. The illustrations are fantastic. Great one to read on a stormy summer night.