From the Publisher
Praise for STORM RUNNERS
“Certain to grab readers and leave them waiting to snatch up the next installment
“A breakneck read, perfectly geared to the restless and reluctant.”
BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS
Children's Literature - Jeanne K. Pettenati J.D.
When the storm of the century hits Florida, Chase Masters is on a school bus. He is separated from his dad, who has traveled to where he thinks the epicenter will be (wrong!). Ever since his wife and daughter died in a car accident during a storm, Mr. Masters has made it his mission to help people facing natural disasters. Now Hurricane Emily is bearing down the Atlantic coast and meteorologists are trying like crazy to pinpoint where it will make landfall. Chase's dad leaves him with the Rossi family as he and an accomplice chase the storm. The Rossi's have a daughter (Nicole) his age. This circus family is quite colorfulthe parents are dwarves (but not Nicole). The Rossi's share their property with elephants, giraffes, lions and monkeys, all of which is important later on in the story. Listeners learn quite a bit about natural disasters in the course of the plot, which will hold their interest and have them cheering for Chase and his schoolmates to survive the devastation of Hurricane Emily. The story, which is unabridged and includes just over three hours of listening time on three discs, ends on a suspenseful note, leaving room for the next segment of this "Storm Runners" series. An interview with the author follows the end of the story on disc three. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.
Children's Literature - Justina Engebretson
It is not every day that a person gets struck by lightning and lives to tell the tale; Chase's father is one of those rare exceptions. Ever since the death of Chase's mother and sister and the lightning strike, Chase's father has not been the same. After recovering from his lightning accident, Chase's father sold all their earthly possessions and now they travel the country chasing storms accompanied by faithful Tomas. In this first book of Smith's new series, the storm chasers are heading to Florida to meet Hurricane Emily. They set up shop at the winter farm for the animals of the Rossi Brothers' Circus. Here twelve-year-old Chase befriends Nicole Rossi, the daughter of the circus owner, Marco Rossi. Many challenges await young Chase as he finds himself right in the middle of the unpredictable Hurricane Emily. Will he have the strength and knowledge to survive the storm and save himself and his new friends? This young adult reader is sure to capture the attention of pre-teens and early teenagers, particularly boys, though girls will most likely enjoy the suspenseful read as well. Smith does an excellent job of creating mystery and holding the reader's attention until the last paragraph. The ending will leave readers waiting in anticipation for the next book in this series. Reviewer: Justina Engebretson
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 5–8—After the death of Chase Masters' mother, his father goes through some changes that lead him to become a storm runner. Chase joins him in this new family business as they move often and stay in front of storms by predicting where they will hit and heading to those towns to help residents prepare. During the latest storm, Chase stays at a farm that is the winter home for a circus while his father travels further into Florida to get ahead of Hurricane Emily. The storm doesn't act as predicted and heads toward the farm. The principal at his new school doesn't heed his warning to keep students in the school instead of sending them home early in buses. When the hurricane takes out the bus he is on, Chase goes into action. Ramón de Ocampo narrates this exciting first novel in a projected series by Roland Smith (Scholastic, 2011), varying his voice to reflect each character's personality and changing his pacing to match the growing danger. News reports throughout are realistically recorded and reflect the building tension. A cliffhanger ending leaves listeners eager for the next installment.—Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Chase, 13, has been taught to be a survivor. He carries a go bag that contains supplies to keep him warm, dry, and fed for three days. He knows to look for high ground in storms and which rooms are safest. He carries a satellite phone in case the landlines are down and the cell phone signals fail. His father is in the disaster business and taught him all of this and more. He travels the country with Tomás, his assistant, and Chase. After a disaster strikes, they provide construction services in Florida to help residents rebuild. The men drop Chase off at Tomás's brother's house before heading for Saint Petersburg, in preparation for Hurricane Emily. Chase is at school, 40 miles away from where his father predicts the storm will hit land, when it changes course unexpectedly, and he needs to use all of the survival techniques he knows to get himself and two friends to safety after their bus rolls into a lake full of alligators. This is an exciting, quick read, with chapters alternating between Chase and his father, who is trying to find him. Weather reports and a lot of survival tips and facts are included. Readers will feel engaged with Chase and his friends in their struggles to survive. However, it seems a set-up for the second book rather than a complete novel.—Erik Carlson, White Plains Public Library, NY
Readers will really feel blasts of wind, water and flying debris in this disaster tale—at least until the narrative cuts off in mid-howl. As (fictional) Hurricane Emily moves toward Florida and his father, an itinerant contractor specializing in weather-disaster prep and repairs, heads for its expected landfall, Chase takes up temporary residence at a "farm" that turns out to be a circus' winter quarters. Hardly has he reported to the local school, though, than the storm makes a sudden turn and surge that strands him, along with classmates Nicole and Rashawn, in a wrecked bus on a crumbling levee. Writing in clipped prose and dialogue, Smith quickly plunges the three refugees into a desperate struggle to survive floods, darkness, howling gales and even an encounter with a wily alligator on the way to what they hope will be safety. Though the author's practice of repeatedly cutting away to other characters' points of view distracts from rather than tightens the suspense, and he abruptly chops off the narrative on a cliffhanger as the storm's eye passes, Chase and his friends get repeated opportunities to show that they're made of sturdy stuff. Since they are left sharing a barn with an elephant who is about to give birth as a vicious escaped leopard roams outside, readers are really going to want to find out what happens next. (Adventure. 11-13)