Children's LiteratureThe subtitle of this book is "Eyewitness Reports of Natural Disasters." The eyewitness perspective is what makes this a real page-turner! Many books have been written about disasters, however, this one is unique in several ways. From the beginning the author talks about her own interests and how they inspired her to do the research. The first person stories she has gathered¾about people living through earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, blizzards and more¾engage the reader almost immediately. Black and white photography emphasizes the reality of what people lived through. The conclusion describes how to put this information to use for ourselves and our communities. The message to the reader is that such happenings are both wonders of nature and threats to life for the people who experience them. Vogel has succeeded in presenting engrossing natural disaster stories. Best of all, she has conveyed the courage and resilience of the survivors who lived to tell about the disasters. 2000, Scholastic,
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-7-Vogel, the self-described "Queen of Natural Disasters," resents 13 calamities, based in part on published accounts and on her own interviews with survivors. The events range from the huge blizzards that hit New York City in 1888 and Buffalo in 1977 to the Dustbowl; the hurricane that wiped out Galveston in 1900; the eruption of Mount St. Helens; the Big Thompson Canyon flash flood of 1976; and the little-known Great Peshtigo Fire, which lost its press coverage to the concurrent Great Chicago Fire but killed five times as many people and covered 4.5 million acres. Her quoted passages are brief but telling, "[As we were] sheltered by a ten-foot bank, the body of the flames passed over our heads, making for an hour, an almost solid ceiling of fire-." The array of photographs, such as one of a figure standing helplessly on a Hawaiian dock as a tsunami rears high overhead, or others of heaps of shredded rubble left by the Tri-State Tor-nado of 1925, bear silent witness to the incredible power and destructive force nature sometimes demonstrates. Though she refers to disasters elsewhere, the author focuses mainly on incidents in this country's past, and concludes with safety and preparedness tips. Readers fascinated by these tales of mass destruction, and of survival against long odds, will find at the end source notes, plus carefully chosen lists of books, articles, and Web sites to feed that interest.-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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