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Hurricanes. Typhoons. Cyclones. No matter what you call them, these formidable, swirling storms are the most devastating events in nature. hurricanes takes young readers on an in-depth exploration of one of the most awe-inspiring phenomena on Earth! This dramatic account of hurricanes and the disasters they leave behind, including Andrew and Katrina, are intensified through arresting full-color photographs and satellite images. Award-winning science writer Seymour Simon has teamed up with the Smithsonian ...

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Hurricanes. Typhoons. Cyclones. No matter what you call them, these formidable, swirling storms are the most devastating events in nature. hurricanes takes young readers on an in-depth exploration of one of the most awe-inspiring phenomena on Earth! This dramatic account of hurricanes and the disasters they leave behind, including Andrew and Katrina, are intensified through arresting full-color photographs and satellite images. Award-winning science writer Seymour Simon has teamed up with the Smithsonian Institution to bring you a new, updated edition of his acclaimed look at this astonishing, and often terrifying, natural disaster.

Discusses where and how hurricanes are formed, the destruction caused by legendary storms, and the precautions to take when a hurricane strikes.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Simon rounds out his collection of other weather books—Earthquakes, Lightening, Storms, Tornadoes, Volcanoes, and Wildfires—with this informational narrative about hurricanes, the swirling havoc-wreaking storms that blow up from the tropics. Calling hurricanes the worst storms because they are more widespread than the compressed tornado, Simon tells readers how to differentiate tropical depressions, from tropical storms and hurricanes. Text explains the natural conditions that cause these storms, the workings of one from the eye out, a hurricane's spawn of tornadoes, and also describes in depth the 1900 Galveston hurricane that killed at least 12,000 people and changed the shoreline of the city. Floyd and Andrew get their day in the sun, as well. In keeping with the format of Simon's informational books, the often eloquent pictures are uncaptioned and readers must view them as complementary to the text but without any extra information appended. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale (Category 1 to 5) is explained with generic damage pictures to give readers a visual sense of bad to worst. Simon explains ways in which forecasters foretell hurricanes and explains that this has resulted in fewer modern-day deaths. The text ends with how one can prepare for a hurricane and tips for surviving in the days afterwards. Readable information that seems to flow naturally from part to part, a minimum of italicized words, and large size photographs make the book an inviting introduction to the curious and while the book's depth of information needs someone with a little background to understand it, younger children could learn much by talking about this book with an adult, as well. 2003,HarperCollins, Ages 7 to 11.
— Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Featuring alternating pages of clear text and outstanding graphics, this book meets Simon's usual high standards. The origins of the word hurricane; definitions of cyclones and typhoons; the Saffir-Simpson scale and descriptions of category one through five storms; the formation and structure of this weather phenomenon; and related events, such as storm surges, are all covered. Extraordinary historical occurrences, such as Galveston's 1900 storm and Hurricane Andrew of 1992, are described. There is also a section on forecasting, practical information on watches and warnings, and details about what to do before and after a hurricane. The full-color photos, including a satellite image of a storm and scenes of devastation, are not only spectacular, but also informative. The writing is precise and accurate and the format is appealing. A natural selection for any library.-Jeffrey A. French, Euclid Public Library, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5- An updated edition of Simon's 2003 title, this book presents a definition and etymology of the term, descriptions of tropical storms, the names of significant disasters, the formation and behavior of hurricanes, and the resulting storm surges. A passage on the Saffir-Simpson scale presents accounts and photos of the damage of the five categories. A closing section deals with forecasting, warnings, and precautions. The changes since the original include the addition of the Australian term for hurricanes; the replacement of a passage on Hurricane Andrew (1992) with coverage of Katrina (2005), with Andrew replacing Opal (1995) as an example of a Category 4 hurricane; deletion of a passage warning that New Orleans is potentially in danger of a serious hurricane; two replacement photos; and new cover art featuring the Smithsonian logo. This is a typical Simon effort, with readable text and excellent photos.-Jeffrey A. French, formerly at Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, Willowick, OH

Kirkus Reviews
Simon tackles his latest natural disaster in trademark but not very modern style. Information on hurricanes is clearly presented but poorly organized, and lacks any sense of drama or story. Aimed at the same age group as Dorothy Souza's Hurricanes (1996) and Patricia Lauber's Hurricanes: Earth's Mightiest Storms, this falls short of both, often going into too much pedantic detail-the wind speeds of tropical depressions versus tropical storms-while failing to put needed perspective on some of the more eye-popping statistics. A hurricane can move more than a million cubic miles of atmosphere per second-but the naked numbers are essentially meaningless to students who think of millions in terms of ballplayers' salaries and can't imagine cubic miles at all. Photos of smashed houses and boats in front yards add excitement, but others-plain clouds?-detract; some are very grainy when blown up to the requisite full page. Formulaic and a numbing read-aloud. (Nonfiction. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061170713
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/26/2007
  • Series: Smithsonian Institution Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 118,366
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Seymour Simon has been called "the dean of the [children's science book] field" by the New York Times. He has written more than 250 books for young readers and has received the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru Lifetime Achievement Award for his lasting contribution to children's science literature, the Science Books & Films Key Award for Excellence in Science Books, the Empire State Award for excellence in literature for young people, and the Educational Paperback Association Jeremiah Ludington Award. He and his wife, Liz, live in Great Neck, New York. You can visit him online at, where you can read "Seymour Science Blog" and download a free four-page teacher guide to accompany this book, putting it in context with Common Core objectives. Many of Seymour's award-winning books are also available as ebooks.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted February 20, 2010


    If you are interested in educating your child at home and taking them to the next level from a standard that all teachers may not be able to offer in school than these are wonderful books. The Smithsonian books are ultimately amazing for both child and parent. No one ever loses interest. The pictures are also amazing. They really keep the little ones interested and the style of writting is great.

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