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Home | LS5603 Children's and YA Literature | LS6643 Nonfiction for Children and YA
Hurricanes

Hurricanes Simon, Seymour.  2003.  HURRICANES.  New York:  Harper Collins.  ISBN:  0688162916.

Using a large typeface and even larger color photographs, this book explains in simple yet vivid language the many aspects of a hurricane.  Simon proceeds in logical fashion by beginning with a general definition of a hurricane, moving into the specifics such as composition and the Saffir-Simpson Hurrican Scale, explaining how weather forecasters identify and track hurricanes, and concludes the book by informing his young readers in a no nonsense fashion what should be done during and after a hurricane.  Information throughout the book is detailed yet clear and precise.  In conveying the power behind these storms, Simon uses verbiage such as "strike," "spiraling," "kick up," "swept," and "stranded and wrecked" (Simon, unpaged) to portray their ferocity.  He also compares situations children might be more familiar with in explaining complex ideas, such as "Hurricanes spin something like ice skaters.  When skaters spin with outstretched arms, the spin is slow and skaters may be wobbly and unsteady.  But when skaters tuck their arms in tightly, they spin faster and faster and are sharply upright.  The tighter a hurricane is packed together, the faster are its winds." (Simon, unpaged)

Large color photographs and satellite images illustrate the text.  Black and white photos of the hurricane of 1900 in Galveston, Texas are also included.  The photos are well chosen and portray the concept described in the text of that page.  French calls the graphics "outstanding" and the format "appealing."  There are no captions or sidebars that tell specifics such as which hurricane did the damage, when the picture was taken, or the location.  Sparse photo credits are included on the Cataloging-in-Publication page.  There are no further access features such as a bibliography or index.

The large, dramatic pictures and Simon's clear explanation of this complex weather phenomenon are an asset to both student and teacher.  A school or classroom library will find multiple uses such as casual browsing, a read aloud during a weather unit, or use by a student for a project.  Stephens points out in her review in LIBRARY MEDIA CONNECTION, "This book will be a valuable addition to the weather collection as it presents the scientific information in a very understandable style.  It would work as a teacher read-aloud.  Students will be drawn to it for extracurricular reading."

French, Jeffrey A. 2004. Hurricanes (book). SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL 50(1). In EBSCOHost (database online). Available from http://search.epnet.com/login.asp. Accessed 13 February 2005.

Stephens, Becky B. 2004. Book reviews:  Hurricanes.  LIBRARY MEDIA CONNECTION 22(6). In EBSCOHost (database online). Available from http://search.epnet.com/login.asp. Accessed 13 February 2005.

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Holly S.
Graduate Student at Texas Woman's University