Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Boy, Were We Wrong About the Weather!

Boy, Were We Wrong About the Weather!

Kathleen Kudlinski
Illustrator:  Sebastia Serra 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Penguin Books, 2015   ISBN: 978-0803737938

Long ago, far back in the days when humans did not understand what caused weather, they were often afraid when they experienced violent storms. Sumerian warriors thought that their weather god, Enil, was angry, and was punishing them by sending thunder, lightning, and heavy rain to frighten them. When Spanish explorers experienced hurricanes as they crossed the Atlantic, they were later told by Taino Indians that their storm god, Huracan was responsible for the storms. Back in Spain people thought that the explorers were making up stories about the powerful storms that had taken so many ships to the bottom of the ocean.

We now know that gods have nothing to do with our weather because we understand how storms form, how wind currents move across the surface of the Earth, and how the sun’s heat is the powerhouse that influences what kinds of weather we get. We also know that hurricanes are very real indeed and there are even scientists who spend their days tracking these monster storms so that they can predict where they are going to make landfall.

Over the centuries peoples from different cultures have made many mistakes about how weather systems work because they did not have the knowledge or technology to understand what they were seeing. This is no longer the case because we have satellite imagery, computers, barometers, and other devices us to help us better understand weather and to predict what kinds of weather we will get.

We used to think that cold places have always be cold and warm places have  always be warm, but scientists have now determined that climate changes have impacted life on Earth for millennia. The poles have not always been icy and the tropics have not always been hot and steamy. Unfortunately, these natural climatic fluctuations are now being disrupted by human influences and for the first time we humans have to take responsibility for our planet’s weather systems.

This excellent nonfiction title will help young children to see how people’s understanding about the weather has changed over time. They will learn about what people used to think, and what we now know to be the truth.