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by Jim Murphy

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On March 12, 1888, the skies from Virginia to Maine turned an angry gray, and snow began to fall. Long-range weather forecasts didn't exist at the time, so no one knew that a howling white monster was about to strike.

This is the riveting story of a region brought to its knees by the three days and nights of hurricane-force winds and unrelenting snow. Hundreds of

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On March 12, 1888, the skies from Virginia to Maine turned an angry gray, and snow began to fall. Long-range weather forecasts didn't exist at the time, so no one knew that a howling white monster was about to strike.

This is the riveting story of a region brought to its knees by the three days and nights of hurricane-force winds and unrelenting snow. Hundreds of trains were caught in its icy grasp, tens of thousands of workers found themselves trapped between work and home, telephone and telegraph lines went dead, and streets everywhere were choked with great waves of drifting snow. Cities and towns came to an absolute, frozen standstill.

In the kind of skillful, dramatic narrative for which Jim Murphy is so well-known, readers can experience the Great Blizzard of 1888 through the eyes and words of survivors and victims alike. They will learn about the men, women, and children who battled the storm head-on, the many problems that developed when it finally stopped, and how life in the United States was forever changed by one of the most devastating natural disasters in its history.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With a confident and sometimes matter-of-fact tone, Mali brings listeners back in time to March 12, 1888-the day two storms converged to create an East Coast blizzard some called the Great White Hurricane. New York City and its environs were hit particularly hard (800 people in the city perished) and Murphy describes how all citizens from all walks of life in Manhattan, New Jersey and Connecticut were impacted by the devastating cold and snow. Accounts of survivors and victims provide a captivating blend of gravity, immediacy and drama. Murphy's well-rounded information about the various circumstances that worsened the effects of the storm make the tale both more fascinating and more tragic. Mali's steady delivery is very well suited to the material; it allows listeners time to absorb this gripping history lesson. Ages 9-up. (Jan.)
In March of 1888, an unexpected blizzard hit the northeastern United States and hovered for three days, crippling transportation and communication. Hurricane-force winds, heavy snowfall, and dropping temperatures left thousands trapped between work and home, and hundreds of trains were stopped by snow- and ice-blocked tracks. Telephone and telegraph lines went dead, food and coal became scarce, and in New York City, a three-block trip via horse-drawn transportation soon cost fifty dollars. The blizzard had long-reaching impact; within the years that followed, an underground wiring system was enforced in New York and construction of its subway system started. Cities began taking responsibility for snow removal. Murphy, author of The Great Fire (Scholastic, 1995/VOYA, August 1996, Nonfiction Honor List 1995), uses newspaper articles, books, and archived personal accounts to reconstruct a chronology of the blizzard. He presents a variety of individual stories to personalize the event. Each person's story is brief, so the people are not very memorable, yet these accounts bring drama to the story. Detail about the social and economic conditions of the time help the reader understand how such a storm affected both urban and rural families, and drawings and photographs illustrate the extent of the devastation. Fascination with weather is not new—a Society of Blizzard Men and Blizzard Ladies was created after the storm—and this first annual Sibert Award honor book will appeal to both teens and adults interested in weather extremes and history. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Source Notes. Further Reading. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses;Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Scholastic, 136p, . Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Julie Wilde SOURCE: VOYA, June 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 2)
Children's Literature
No one saw it coming, especially since the previous day was unusually warm. The U.S. Army Signal Corps, who gathered the weather data at that time, said there would be "fair weather throughout the Atlantic States." They could not have been more wrong. The blizzard of 1888 was about to begin. The three-day storm was felt all along the East Coast. The fierce winds and heavy snowfall brought down telegraph lines, cutting communication between cities. Trains were unable to run, and it was impossible to keep the streets clear. Murphy provides the personal touch with his accounts of individuals; some survived the storm and others did not. His clear and even-handed approach to describing the details makes this a page-turner. He never sensationalizes. He concludes with the many changes made in predicting the weather and in the role of government, such as the creation of the U.S. Weather Bureau, legislation to make the government responsible for clearing the streets, and the laying of telephone and electrical wires underground. Sepia-toned photographs and drawings, captioned by the author, will captivate the reader. Murphy is as sharp here as he was in The Great Fire. 2000, Scholastic Press,
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-Blizzard!:The Storm That Changed America by Jim Murphy (Scholastic, 2000) is an account of the blizzard of March 12, 1888 that hit the northeastern United States. It was one of the worst and most written about natural disasters in our history. The storm brought the coast of the United States, from Virginia to Canada, to a standstill, and this retelling based on personal accounts and news stories makes you feel like you are there. The blizzard is described primarily from the vantage point of individuals in New York City and the area around it. Some people left work and didn't know if or when they would ever reach home. Others were stranded with little food and water and had no idea if help was on the way. The text is exciting, and Taylor Mali provides a mesmerizing reading of this fascinating story. His steady voice holds listeners spellbound and waiting for what will happen next. Listeners young and old will learn a great deal about U.S. history and science, and how this storm changed our nation. -Anita Lawson, Otsego High School, MI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.36(w) x 10.38(h) x 0.59(d)
1080L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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Blizzard 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
adb3301 More than 1 year ago
Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America by Jim Murphy recounts the events leading up to, during and after the historic blizzard of 1888 that violently hit the east coast. This informational chapter book is appropriate for young and old readers. Murphy gives insight as to how people lived to give a better understanding of the impact this historic storm had. He also recounts personal stories of survivors and people that lost their life. He explains how this storm changed the way storms are viewed and handled. Many lessons were learned from this event. It created improvements from anti-littering laws to the subway systems just to name a few. You don't have to like history to appreciate this book. Adb3301
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In March of 1888 there was a devastating blizzard that struck north eastern end of the U.S. Jim Murphy describes the destruction and isolation during the three day long blizzard with first-hand accounts. Murphy brings to life with this book the effects of the storm and hardships people had to overcome. Not only does Murphy depict the adversary that people had to conquer because of the storm but he also conveys the time and age of the U.S. and our ignorance of weather. Murphy also lays the setting with portrayals of the homeless and the difference between how the storm affected the city people and people in the rural areas. The blizzard of 1888 was the reason some ordinances city that we have today were put into place. In "Blizzard" there is an account where horses and people were getting tangled and electrocuted by down and dangling power lines. Now, it is law that all power lines in a city or downtown area must be placed underground, not only to save lives but to keep communications going in case of another destructive storm. "Blizzard" also allows the reader to see how price gouging caused some people to go into starvation and endure freezing temperatures due to the price of food and coal's continuous rise. Murphy is allowed these first-hand accounts with the help from letters of survivors of the blizzard of 1888, as well as newspaper articles, and memoirs from business owners, and very upper-class citizens.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The author really sets the stage from the start and keeps the pace thru the entire book I really felt as if I got a true glimpse of what life was like in 1888 when this great blizzard hit the east coast.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!!! When I first saw it, I said to myself, 'Yeah. Sure. This is just going to be one of those boring Non-Fiction books again.' When I read it, I was like, WOW! I just couldn't put it down!