Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Witness to Disaster: Hurricanes

Witness to Disaster: Hurricanes

Dennis Brindell Fradin, Judith Bloom Fradin
For ages 8 to 12
National Geographic Children's Books, 2007   ISBN: 978-1426201110

It is very hard to truly understand what it is like to experience a hurricane if one has not actually seen and felt one of these ferocious storms. Luckily most of us will not have this dubious pleasure because we do not live in hurricane prone areas. But, thanks to the authors of this book, we can still get to experience hurricanes vicariously through the accounts of others who really did experience the rain, the wind, the waves, and the horrific aftermath of these terrifying forces of nature.

With great skill Judy and Dennis Fradin show their readers how hurricanes form, how they behave, and the damage they do. In addition they tell the stories of some of the world's most destructive hurricanes and cyclones. Finally they explain how meteorologists use science and machines to try to determine where hurricanes will form and where they will hit.

Alongside the main text the words of witnesses to the storms flow from the pages and breath life into what might otherwise be a dispassionate description of a natural phenomena. We hear from a man who rescued victims of Hurricane Katrina using a boat. We hear the words of a man who was present when a hurricane hit Florida in 1964 and who describes how a thirty foot palm tree was knocked flat by the winds. We even read a description of what it was like to be in Galveston, Texas in 1900 when a hurricane devastated that city.

Packed with quotations and fabulous photographs, this is a book which will give young readers a fascinating picture of what hurricanes are really like.

This is one in a series of titles in the "Witness to Disaster" series. Other books in the series look at volcanoes, tsunamis, and earthquakes.