The Toy and the Twister by Gillian King-Cargile

Book Info

Grade Level
Elementary School
STEM Concepts
Meteorology, Storm Safety

Written by Gillian King-Cargile and Illustrated by Kevin Krull

A fluff-brained bunny named Bear gets left outside during a storm. The only thing that can save him is science . . . and a sassy doll named Sadie Scientist. Together, the toys get sucked into a tornado. Sadie helps Bear understand extreme weather and storm safety, but when they begin to fall, Bear has to think quickly to save his new friend. This fun, fast-paced adventure will entertain young readers while introducing them to weather and climate concepts aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. After the adventure, read an interview with a real-life meteorologist!

Click here to order Jack and Bear’s newest Stuffed Bunny Science Adventure: The Toy and the Test Drive!


The Toy and the Twister Read Aloud

Always adventurous, Bear the Stuffed Bunny loves being tossed in the air by his boy Jack. He flies a little higher than expected in The Toy and the Twister by Gillian King-Cargile. Listen to this story as read out loud by the author and find out what happens to two brave toys when a twister twists through!

Storming the Museum!

On July 19th, STEMRead and Argonne National Laboratories stormed the museum!  At DuPage Children’s Museum, kids were able to learn about wind and tornadoes in fun ways, from stories about tornadoes to a tornado chamber.  Find out what you missed from a few of the kids themselves, who talk about their favorite parts of the day and what they learned.

What is Climate Disruption? With Argonne National Lab

We sit down with Doug Sisterson, climate scientist with Argonne National Lab, to talk about climate disruption, climate change, and severe weather.

How Does Climate Change Affect Us? With Argonne National Lab

Doug Sisterson, climate scientist with Argonne National Lab, talks to us about how climate change affects everyone, and what you can do to help stop it.

Meteorology with Walker Ashley

Wanna know more about meteorology?  We talk to Walker Ashley, professor of meteorology, to talk about how to study the weather.

Storm Safety with Walker Ashley

Walker Ashley, professor of meteorology at NIU, teaches us a little bit about storm safety, and tells us why we shouldn’t panic in severe weather situations.

Illustrator Kevin Krull on The Toy and the Twister

We sit down with Kevin Krull, illustrator of the book “The Toy and the Twister,” by our very own Gillian King-Cargile. He talks about the process of illustrating a children’s book, and what kids should do if they want to become illustrators!


Bear’s Weather Adventure

Coloring Sheet


Idea Sparks and Mini Lessons

These questions, prompts, and short activities provide quick ways to inspire interest and explore the STEAM concepts related to the book. Idea Sparks and Mini Lessons can also be used for differentiation and to foster new ideas of your own.

Download the lesson plan.

Tornado Shelter Engineering Challenge

In this lesson, students will design, build and test model buildings that could be used to keep people safe during a tornado.

Download Lesson Plan

Tame the Wind

In this lesson, students will design a solution that will change the direction of a piece of tissue paper that is being pushed by wind.

Download Lesson Plan

Video Discussion Guide

Watch the videos and then use these questions to facilitate classroom discussions about the topics presented.

Download the Video Discussion Guide.

About the Author

Author Gillian King-Cargile is director of Northern Illinois University’s STEM Read program (, which introduces young readers to the science, technology, engineering, and math concepts behind popular fiction. She holds a BA in film production and an MFA in creative writing from Southern Illinois University, and lives with her husband and daughters in DeKalb, Illinois.

Click to learn about author visits.

About the Illustrator

Illustrator Kevin Krull holds a BFA in illustration from Northern Illinois University. His illustrations have appeared in Creative Quarterly and have been shown in the Chicago area. He loved to color when he was a kid, and obviously he never quite grew up—he lives in DeKalb, Illinois, where he continues to draw and color all day long.

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