Tsunami Warning

Overview

In 2004 tsunamis in the Indian Ocean swept over entire islands, wiping some of them completely off the map and killing more than 230,000 people. Unfortunately, tsunamis like these cannot be stopped, but they can be better understood. What causes these huge waves to form? How can they be detected? And what can be done to alert people that these fast-moving waves are approaching?

As author and illustrator Taylor Morrison explains, ever since a deadly tsunami hit Hawaii in 1946, ...

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Overview

In 2004 tsunamis in the Indian Ocean swept over entire islands, wiping some of them completely off the map and killing more than 230,000 people. Unfortunately, tsunamis like these cannot be stopped, but they can be better understood. What causes these huge waves to form? How can they be detected? And what can be done to alert people that these fast-moving waves are approaching?

As author and illustrator Taylor Morrison explains, ever since a deadly tsunami hit Hawaii in 1946, scientists have been hard at work, developing the first Seismic Sea Wave Warning System and studying these powerful waves in hopes of saving lives by decreasing false alarms and by reacting with greater speed and accuracy to real threats.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
With particular reference to the tsunamis that struck Hawaii in 1946 and 1957, Morrison describes the creation of an earthquake warning system and the eastern edge of the Pacific Ocean. Both tsunamis were caused by quakes near the Aleutians. The first struck without much warning and claimed 159 lives; the second, with the system in place, resulted in property damage but no loss of life. The author describes the experiences of several survivors, explains how some of the warning system's devices work, and closes with a brief bibliography. Illustrated with expansive scenes painting in dark, rather ominous colors.
Booklist, ALA

With paintings more powerful than photographs, the author/illustrator eloquently captures the drama and danger of the tsunami. . . . The pictures that show boiling waves, brooding skies and shattered towns will capture young readers. Older readers will relish the text and come away with a greater appreciation for the scientists who struggle to understand natural disasters in order to keep people safe.
Kirkus Reviews

Attractive paintings help tell the story and demonstrate the technology involved.
School Library Journal

"Both text and illustrations are of a piece with [Taylor's] subject matter: feats of engineering...speaks for…engineers." Natural History Magazine

Natural History Magazine

Midwest Book Review

Publishers Weekly

Morrison (Wildfire)tackles another topic in the science arena with this wide-ranging story of how tsunami warning systems came into being. His well-researched, chronological account also looks at the causes and aftermath of these giant waves, as gray-hued illustrations powerfully convey their destructive force. The introductory spread about recent Indian Ocean tsunamis shows people running from or being engulfed by a giant wave as cars get tossed and telephone poles are uprooted. The narrative then travels back to a 1946 earthquake off Alaska. Tsunamis spawned by that temblor wreaked havoc in Hawaii, spurring "a massive collaborative effort of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, ingenious scientists, and even the Pentagon" to create a warning system. Spot and panel illustrations, diagrams and lengthy chunks of text work in concert to relate the history of its development. While some sidebar information tends toward the obscure (terms like P and S waves and triangulation are used but left undefined; the mechanical workings of seismometers and tidal gauges are detailed), Morrison's pictures help fill in the gaps. Brief survivor accounts can seem out of place amid the technical, more expository tone of most of the book, but it's the personal tales and other anecdotes ("Many Hawaiians didn't believe the warnings about giant waves because it was April Fool's Day") that will sustain the interest of younger audiences. All ages. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Sulock
Morrison's text introduces tsunamis by describing events in recent history. Through the 1946 tsunami in Hilo, Hawaii, he explains how tidal waves are formed and describes how this natural disaster has devastated people's lives. He details how the current tsunami warning method was developed, along with how it works, and how it has been adapted by other countries to save lives. Morrison's colorful illustrations play a strong role in understanding this concept, for it demonstrates how devastating tsunamis can be and how people today can prepare for them. His illustration style is similar to the artist Edward Hopper, which helps buffer a child's perception of the destruction caused by tidal waves. The combination of the text and illustrations provides a strong foundation for young readers, both familiar and new to oceans, to fully understand tsunamis. The conclusion includes a "Glossary" and bibliography. Overall this is a well-researched and informative science book for middle grade readers.
School Library Journal

Gr 4–6
With its focus on the development of warning systems, Morrison's book fills a niche among the recent slew of tsunami titles. Explaining that the 2004 Indian Ocean disaster prompted governments worldwide to create warning systems, the author goes into the story of the 1946 Aleutian Island earthquake and the resulting tsunami that struck Hilo, HI. Following the destruction of the Scotch Cap Lighthouse on Unimak Island in Alaska, the wave moved toward Hawaii, where it struck hours later without warning. Although magnetic seismometers were in use to monitor quakes, their recording paper took a day to develop, rendering the system incapable of timely warnings. This tragedy spurred the development of a warning system by the Coast and Geodetic Survey. The story continues with the system's first real test in 1957, when another Aleutian quake was detected and warnings in Hawaii prevented the loss of life. Morrison explains the way ocean bottom sensors detect tsunamis and relay warnings. The text is brief and could use more elaboration in spots, but it is nonetheless effective. Attractive paintings help tell the story and demonstrate the technology involved.
—Jeffrey A. FrenchCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
"Shaking ground, an exposed sea floor, and a loud roar are natural warnings." The tsunami is coming! With paintings more powerful than photographs, the author/illustrator eloquently captures the drama and danger of the tsunami, the giant waves that arise unexpectedly out of ocean earthquakes to pound coastal regions. Readers will remember the devastating Indonesian tsunami of 2004, but may be less familiar with the Hawaiian tsunami of 1946. Woven amid the tales of survivors are descriptions of the development of the first Seismic Sea Wave Warning System, and the role of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the tsunami warning centers in Hawaii and Alaska. As with the author's previous title, Wildfire (2006), a brief but challenging text and meticulous paintings are linked to tell the story. The pictures that show boiling waves, brooding skies and shattered towns will capture younger readers. Older readers will relish the text and come away with a greater appreciation for the scientists who struggle to understand natural disasters in order to keep people safe. (glossary, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618734634
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/30/2007
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.75 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Taylor Morrison pairs his artistic talent with extensive research to bring readers engaging nonfiction picturebooks. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he has illustrated several books for children. He was born in Kansas, raised in Illinois, and now makes his home in Oregon.

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