Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Matt Doeden
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 6
Lerner Publications, 2008   ISBN: 978-0822579106

Many of have seen pictures of and movies about tornadoes, and a few of us have even had the misfortune of getting quite close to these destructive forces of nature, but how many of us really know how they are formed?

In this little book Matt Doeden finds a way to explain the mechanics of tornadoes in a simple yet interesting way. His readers will never feel that they are being talked down to. Instead they will feel that they are being told the facts in a form that they can understand. The author uses complex words which are a part of the lexicon for this subject, but by putting them in the right context and by explaining what they mean in the text, Matt Doeden makes sure that his readers will not get lost.

The author begins his narrative by asking the simple question "How do tornadoes form?" He then explains that tornadoes are born when a strong thunderstorm builds up. Within the storm wind shear can, under the right circumstances, make the air rotate. When this rotating air hits an updraft it can end up spinning like a toy top. This is the beginnings of a tornado. When the end of the column of spinning air touches down on the ground it is considered a proper tornado and this is when it starts to become very dangerous.

Matt Doeden goes on to explain when and where tornadoes form and how to stay safe during a tornado. He concludes his description with a "More about tornadoes" section and some "Tornado Facts."

This is one of the titles in the Pull Ahead – Forces of Nature series. Other titles in the collection describe earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanoes. Numerous annotated photographs can be found throughout the books and these help readers to better understand what is being described in the text.