These books dealing with natural disasters on Earth read like the narration from a special on the Discovery Channel, and that is not a bad thing! The writing is very accessible to all ages, although younger readers may struggle a bit with some of the vocabulary. The subject matter and exciting presentation, however, will probably encourage them to try harder, making these an excellent choice for building reading skills. The glossary in each book should also help with unfamiliar terms. The well-crafted narrations are augmented with firsthand accounts from eyewitnesses, as well as numerous color photographs. Each book features a time line that includes both the disasters themselves and important discoveries and other happenings pertaining to those events. Volcanoes provides specific examples to describe all the different kinds of damage that can occur from volcanoes, such as lava, ash, craters, and tsunamis. The book also discusses the extreme lethality of supervolcanoes and the chances of one erupting in our own lifetime. Readers may also get a few ideas for career options—geologists and volcanologists are discussed throughout the text. (Extreme Threats) Reviewer: Spring Lea Henry
- Jennie DeGenaro
If you want to read an amazing book that explains volcanoes in a manner everyone can understand, you should read this book. After completing Extreme Threats: Volcanoes, the reader will have an understanding and respect for volcanoes that they probably never had before. Various volcanoes and their aftermath are terrorizing to read about. Photographs are almost unbelievable since they are unique and beautiful while depicting the horror victims must have experienced. When Mount St. Helena erupted in 1980, after being dormant for more than a century, it destroyed 230 square miles, twenty seven bridges, and two hundred houses. A volcanic mudslide covered a Columbian town and killed more than 25,000 people in fifteen minutes. Other volcano avalanches have been known to travel at speeds up to 450 miles per hour which no person or animal could outrun. Volcano eruptions can cause global climate changes. One result was the ice age which lasted one thousand years. This caused severe famine among animals and humans. When plants die, animals die because they have no food. Some scientists feel the eruption almost wiped out the human race. Dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago. Volcanic catastrophes almost destroyed all life on earth, killing 96% of all marine life and 70% of all land species. The United States is included in the volcanic danger zone and no one knows when one will happen. Millions of people could be killed. This may happen tomorrow or one hundred thousand years from now. Ways must be found for civilization to survive. Every high school library would do well to have several copies of this invaluable book available to its readers. Reviewer: Jennie DeGenaro
- Rebecca C. Moore
This series' focus is threats to the earth, both manmade and natural, which could cause massive destruction and possible human extinction. Volcanoes begins with a vivid account of the 79 CE eruption of Vesuvius, the cataclysm that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum. Later chapters explore the development of volcanology, formation and location of volcanoes, volcanic avalanches, supervolcanoes and mass extinctions, and the bleak future of humanity with regard to volcanoes. Throughout, Nardo references specific volcanoes and eruptions and brings the disasters to life by including primary source quotes from witnesses and scientists. Surprisingly he does not mention deadly floods caused by volcanic eruptions under glaciers, as in Iceland. This handsome series features high-gloss pages in mottled green, full-color pictures, and informative sidebars. Both volumes reviewed are well written, nicely designed, and interesting. They will appeal both to researchers and casual browsers. The series is intended to unsettle readers, however, and learning of horrific dangers over which no one has any control may upset more sensitive students. Reviewer: Rebecca C. Moore
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up–These excellent books detail familiar perils whose deadly potential students may not fully realize. The first chapter of each title opens with a gripping description of an event, related in a way that will draw readers in and that provides plenty of accessible science. A breathless account of the 1871 Peshtigo, WI, disaster in Wildfires, for example, includes information on the physics of a fire whirl. Black-and-white and color photographs on almost every page add to the drama. To varying degrees, the titles cover phenomena that are the subject of scientific and/or social debate. The authors describe both sides of the controversies, providing evidence for why mainstream science is right. Frequent sidebars, covering as much as a spread, discuss peripheral and often unusual information. The conclusion of each title explains what scientists are doing, or what they anticipate doing, to ameliorate the threat. The titles close with extensive chapter notes; those in Wildfires are especially extensive.