Night of the Twisters

( 61 )

Overview

When a tornado watch is issued one Tuesday evening in June, twelve-year-old Dan Hatch and his best friend, Arthur, don't think much of it. After all, tornado warnings are a way of life during the summer in Grand Island, Nebraska. But soon enough, the wind begins to howl, and the lights and telephone stop working. Then the emergency siren starts to wail. Dan, his baby brother, and Arthur have only seconds to get to the basement before the monstrous twister is on top of them. Little do they know that even if they ...

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Overview

When a tornado watch is issued one Tuesday evening in June, twelve-year-old Dan Hatch and his best friend, Arthur, don't think much of it. After all, tornado warnings are a way of life during the summer in Grand Island, Nebraska. But soon enough, the wind begins to howl, and the lights and telephone stop working. Then the emergency siren starts to wail. Dan, his baby brother, and Arthur have only seconds to get to the basement before the monstrous twister is on top of them. Little do they know that even if they do survive the storm, their ordeal will have only just begun. . . .

A fictional account of the night freakish and devastating tornadoes hit Grand Island, Nebraska, as experienced by a twelve-year-old, his family, and friends.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Based on the true events of June 3, 1980, in Grand Island, Nebraska, this novel chronicles the experiences of fictional character twelve-year-old Dan Hatch and his friend Arthur on a night when seven tornadoes battered the area, destroying over 500 homes and leaving four people dead. Alone with Dan's baby brother, Dan and Arthur have to use every scrap of courage they can find to keep themselves and the baby safe, reunite with their families, and eventually save an elderly neighbor. Ruckman's careful detailing of the tornado hitting the house and the ensuing damage, along with the destruction of the town, bring the events vividly home to the reader. Some adults might question Dan's mother's decision to allow the boys to reenter the destroyed, and now dangerous neighborhood in order to find Mrs. Smiley while she stays behind to care for the baby, but kids will find it exciting and daring. Upper elementary students who love adventure will race through this fast-paced story. 2003 (orig. 1984), HarperTrophy/HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 12.
—Anne Marie Pace
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064401760
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1986
  • Series: A Trophy Bk.
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 81,409
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.22 (w) x 7.57 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Ivy Ruckman is the award-winning author of fourteen books, including No Way Out, for which she also wrote the screenplay. She is a former English teacher and creative writing instructor, and has written several short stories for young readers. Mrs. Ruckman lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

As Told by
Dan Hatch

When I was a, little kid, I thought a red-letter day was when you got a red letter in the mailbox. Pretty dumb, huh? It finally dawned on me that a red-letter day is when something terrific and. wonderful happens to you. Usually something unexpected.

Take that April Saturday when I won five hundred dollars in cash and merchandise. Now that was a red-letter day if I ever saw one! But who'd have guessed? A plain, open space on the calendar, that day started out just like any other, with Frosty Flakes for breakfast and Mom posting my jobs on the kitchen corkboard. "Don't forget to change the kitty litter, Dan," she said, just as she had every Saturday for as long as I could remember.

By noon of April 19, I had entered the Dairy Queen Bike Race because my best friend, Arthur, dared me. By two o'clock I was crossing the finish line seventy-ninth, with only two cyclists behind me. Who'd have guessed a beginner like me would win the racers' raffle afterward?

Besides the one hundred dollars from Grand Island Thrift and Loan, I won a slick new racing bike (Schwinn Voyageur, 26 lbs., with Diacompe 500 G sidepull brakes and a jet-black frame). The prize also included a racing helmet, an aluminum bike pump, and three packages of Fruit-of-the-Loom underwear, which I gave to Arthur because he wears a men's small.

Now that's the kind of day that ought to have a tag on it. It could read:

This Is a Red-Letter Day
1. Dress appropriately
2. Practice looking humble
3. Comb your hair, in caw of photographers


Now that I'm older and more experienced, I knowthere are black-letter days as well as red-letter ones. Those biggees, the real blockbusters that mess up your life, aren't marked on the calendar, either. You never know ahead of time when you're getting one of those. If I had my way--if I were in charge of the world, as Dad sometimes says--the black-letter days would be announced, for sure.

I've thought about this a lot. What if God or some one actually did send out doomsday letters via the postal service? Wouldn't that be something? Say you wake up to a nice, regular day. Everybody's in a good mood, a perfumy breeze is swinging in from the south. La-de-da! Then you go out to bring in. the mail.

"What's this?,* you gasp, staring at a black envelope in your hands.

You rip it open, trembling all the way to the elbows.

"Furnace explosion planned," it says, "two o'clock today."

Or maybe "Head-on collision with a Peterbilt truck. Washington and Fourth Street."

Or . . . "Tornado on Tuesday!"

If People got notices like that in advance, it would save a lot of trouble and grief. it's those black surprises that get to you, those things people call acts of God because they have to blame someone.

My all-time worst black-letter day was June 3 of last summer. There were no notices mailed out on that occasion, for sure. There were no indications at all.

"Twenty percent probability of thunderstorms toward evening" was what the local weatherman said that morning.

"So what's new?" Mom talked back to him, poking another spoonful of cereal in my baby brother's smiling mouth.

To tell you the truth, the weather was the last thing on my mind. Arthur and I had big plans for that Tuesday. Crafts class first, at my Aunt Goldie's place. A couple of hot burritos at Taco John's after. Later, a bike hike out to the Platte River and a swim at Mormon Island. According to my Grandpa Hatch, the best swimming in south-central Nebraska exists right there, where the big island separates the Platte. With school out for good, Arthur and I were planning to get in on some of it.

Unless you count, the long cirrus clouds strung across the morning sky as Arthur and I pedaled off to Aunt Goldie's, there were no warnings at all that day in June. None.

FiveO'clock


Arthur and I rolled over on our backs on the warm sandy beach at Mormon Island State Park. We'd just had our first swim of the summer, and now it was nearing five o'clock.

"You plan to keep going to that crafts class?" Arthur asked, putting his hands beneath his head and gazing up at the sky.

Now I ought to mention right here at the beginning that my friend Arthur is no ordinary human being. He's smart. He studies things. As Arthur himself says, he cogitates. I could tell by the way he was squinting into the sun that he was thinking hard about something.

Miss Stevens, our social studies teacher, pointed out in class one day: "Arthur," she said, standing between him and the window, "you just have to be the Original Gazer. Tell me, honestly now, what are you pining for out there that you don't have in here?"

"Freedom," he said. Not sassy-like or anything, just stating the facts.

Now, lying next to me, he was outlining cloud patterns with his big toe while he gazed. I raised myself on one elbow.

"Don't you like crafts class?" I asked.

"Not much."

I poked finger holes in the sand. "Heck, maybe Aunt Goldie had a stomachache today."

"Ha!"

"Maybe she swallowed a prune."

"Including the pit?"

"Pit, too," I said, "and the hairy green worm curled up next to it. That would give her an awesome bellyache."

"I've never heard of a prune worm."

I rolled back onto the sand. Arthur would probably go home and look up prune worms. He has books on everything-birds, trees, flowers, insects, amphibians, prunes.

Night of the Twisters. Copyright © by Ivy Ruckman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 61 )
Rating Distribution

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(49)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2006

    The best of the best!

    Whoosh! Do you like tornados? If you do then this is a book for you! It¿s about a 1980 tornado disaster. Dan Hatch his baby brother (Ryan Hatch) and his Friend Arthur have no idea what is about to happen. I recommend this book to people who think weather is interesting because it has weather in it. This book is good for 3rd graders and up. You should read this book because it s awesome! My Favorite part is when the first tornado hits because it builds up suspense .I think you should read this awesome Historical fiction- Adventure book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2015

    I would like to write this review based off of this information;

    I would like to write this review based off of this information; I read this book when I was in 4th grade, I am now 22 years old and I remember it vividly. This book was emotionally scarring for me. After I read this book I developed a legitimate fear of tornados, thunder storms, wind, cloudy skies, and Nebraska. Well into my teens I would sob at the first notification of a tornado warning/watch/siren. This book is commonly read in elementary schools and I think it is a horrible idea. This book recently came to mind as the reason for my fear because one of the families I babysit for has a daughter who goes to the same school I went to. She also has a fear of tornados. She read the same book. Another reason? My friend was recently telling me how she is terrified of tornados and I brought up this book we read in fourth grade and the tornado unit and how it has bothered me ever since. It would be torturous to require children to read this book in school. If there is a child who is interested in weather and thinks tornados are exciting and cool, this would be a good book. For a required reading in the elementary school curriculum it is a horrendous idea.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    Read this book as a child in the 80's and still can remember the

    Read this book as a child in the 80's and still can remember the vivid imagery, and harrowing plot. Excellent read. I'll be giving this book to my son soon to treasure as well!

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Read this in 2nd grade, still love it as a senior in high school!

    Have you ever read a book that is so grasping, you just can't put it down?

    For me, that book is Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman. It is a fictionalized account of the Grand Island, NE tornado outbreak of June 1980. The book tells of how twelve-year-old Dan Hatch, his friend Arthur, and Dan's baby brother Ryan survive a violent tornado in Dan's basement.

    Upon reading the back cover of Night of the Twisters, I noticed that the target audience for the book is ages 8-11. That is how you know when an author is great: when they can write a book on a third grade level that appeals to readers of all ages. That is the type of writer I long to be. While I do want to write at the level expected of me, I know that my vocabulary is not as vast as some, and I will probably never have William Shakespeare's eloquence. I want my writing to be accepted and understood by as many audiences as possible.

    So, adults and teenagers of the world, I challenge you to go to your local library, a bookstore, or even that stack of books you haven't read since elementary school, and pick up a book by Dr. Seuss or Judy Bloom, or Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman. Relive your childhood, and be totally gripped by a simple story that even a child could love.

    Only one problem - I want to read this on my nook!

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  • Posted December 11, 2010

    One of The Best Books Ever Written

    I really liked this book even though i'm not really into books under 400 pages. It was enjoyable and an easy read and even inspired me to write my own short story

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  • Posted July 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    What a Great Story!

    I absolutely a great story to share with friends!I read it for a school project.GREAT JOB IVY RUCKMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Posted February 24, 2010

    A very good book.

    Night of the Twisters is an exciting book. You have to keep reading to see what will happen next. You can't put this book down. You could probably read this book in one day. I'm 12 years old and I think all kinds of kids 7 and up as well as adults would like this book.

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  • Posted January 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Adults Love It Too!

    This book is great for people aged 10 and up, including adults. The author captures the sounds and general atmosphere experienced in a tornado well!<BR/>But, what's best about the story is how the characters make choices. Good or bad, and what events stem from the choices they make.<BR/>It's about fear, friendship, bravery, helping others, maybe liking girls just a little bit, and most of all, love.<BR/>As an adult w/a teenaged son, I recommend this book to parents. After my son and I read it, we discussed (not for the first time) what to do and where to go during threatening weather. Not just tornados, but severe thunderstorms as well.<BR/>Something tells me there will be some future meteorologists because of this book!

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  • Posted January 21, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Quick Read

    Night of the Twisters is a realistic fiction book. It is about a tornado that hits Nebraska, and then about an hour later another one hits.<BR/>The main characters are Arthur and Dan. Another important character is Mrs. Smiley. She has an old screen door with many memories, what happens to it during the storm? What happens to her? Who all lives? What happens to Dan's little brother or his cat. Read Night of the Twisters to find out.

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  • Posted December 1, 2008

    Tooo sad for me and possbly others

    I Would not convice someone to read it. It was very sad and occasionally swearing/cursing. I didn't enjoy it but my sister loved it she recommends it and she is older than me you should take her advice and take a chance and read you could love it or hate it. Although i will admit the author did a great job writting the book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2008

    Awesome and scary at the same time

    This book can make you cry, bring chills up your spine, or just make you laugh.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    I like this book because I really like books about disasters and about tornados.So that is why I like this book. I would recommed this book to boys-girls that are 10 and older and if you like disaster stories and happy endings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2007

    awsome book

    tells lots of scary things and is mainly about not to be scared

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2006

    It Was Ok But Not Great

    It wasn't my favorite story of all time but I liked it I love Tornados so I thought this book was going to be a bit better then what it really was. It was ok I still do recomend it to anyone who loves torandos to study. I loved the baby Ryan though he sounded so cute!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2006

    Best book I have ever read!!!

    This was the one of the best books I have ever read! From the minute I picked up the book I could not put it down. Ivy Ruckman has done a wonderful job on building suspence from the first page. This book has Unfogetable characters. Worth reading over, and over again!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2006

    TWISTER ALLERT!!!

    My favorite character is Dan because he is very confidant that he will find his cat and his mother will be ok. His cat never showed up, but his mother was ok. I liked the time my character went to Miss Smilie's house and thought that she was dead, but she actually told them that she slept through the whole thing and didn¿t know it even happened.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2005

    Night of the Twisters

    This is an amazing book.This book is a gigantic cliffhanger.Ivy Ruckman did an awsome job in desription.You can basicly paint a picture in your head.Just the fact that four chidren are trying to survive a huge disaster makes you wanna read on.In my opinion it was one of the best books i've read take this from someone who likes to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2005

    Night of the Twisters

    This was one of the best books in the world. It kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time.The book has really good description and it molds a picture in your mind.Like me you'll never want to put the book down.especialy when the twisters arrive.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2005

    TOTALLY AWSOME BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    NIGHT OF THE TWISTERS was an awsome book.The book is one huge cliffhanger.It leaves you at the edge of your seat when you read it.I think that everbody should read this book.When you read it feels like you are in their crazy situation. I highly recomend this book if you like a crazy story about three kids trying to live during a tornado and trying to find their parents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2005

    MUST READ BOOK!!!

    It's a must read book!Ivy Ruckman did a great job story telling!I recomend it for kids to learn a good lesson.

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