Tornado Jones is an orphan boy who lives with relatives in Nebraska during the 1950s, which was when the books were written by an author who also lived in the area where the stories take place, Trella Lamson Dick.  Partly, the books are adventure stories about rural life, but there are also themes about progress and change, both in Tornado’s personal life as he grows up and in the world around him.

TornadoJonesTornado Jones

In the first book, Tornado makes a new friend who helps him discover the secret of his name and helps him in his quest to find gold.  Tornado’s family home is also in danger of destruction because of the construction of a dam.

Tornado Jones on Sentinel Mountain

Tornado goes to visit his friend Paul in Idaho because Paul’s father is working on a dam there.  The boys camp out in the mountains and meet an old prospector who is looking for uranium.  They help him find something that may be more valuable, although he has trouble seeing it at first.

Tornado’s Big Year

When their home is damaged by fire, Tornado and his grandmother move to a nearby town, where Tornado has to make some new friends.  While Tornado struggles with the typical school problems of making friends, joining a sports team, and dealing with a friend’s cheating in class, he is faced with something more serious when a friend’s family is accused of stealing sheep.