Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Great Chicago fire of 1871

The Great Chicago fire of 1871

Kay M. Olson
Illustrator:  Phil Miller , Charles Barnett III 
Nonfiction Graphic Novel  Series
For ages 8 to 10
Capstone Press, 2006   ISBN: 978-0736854801

The weather had been hot and dry and many people in the city of Chicago were wishing that it would rain. On October 8th a fire broke out in the barn of the O'Leary family in one of the poorer parts of town. The alarm was ?turned in? but the signal never reached the fire station. Smoke was seen billowing across the skyline but no one knew where the fire was and precious time was wasted. By the time the firefighters arrived the fire had spread and was out of control. Though the Chief Fire Marshall asked for backup further confusion meant that he did not get what he needed.

Because everything was so tinder dry and because the city was build predominantly out of wood flying embers caused more fires to break out around the city. By midnight of that fateful day fires were burning all over the city. The rich and poor alike were driven from their homes and soon the streets were full of people running from the fires.

In this excellent graphic account the author perfectly captures the chaos that ensued when this historic fire burned much of the great city of Chicago. Readers will be able to see how a lack of organization and poor planning were largely responsible for the rapid spreading of the fire.

Readers will find further information about the fire at the back of the book along with a glossary, a bibliography, an index and more.