Is it snowing around you? Windy? Unseasonably warm?

I had a hard time thinking of an appropriate theme for this week, but finally settled on weather again. One of my brothers-in-law lives on the lucky side of Buffalo, NY—lucky this time, at least. He only got 4 inches of snow. We’ve gotten so much rain in the last few days that we had another “Swan Lake” flood in our back yard. Plus, there seem to be more volcanic eruptions than usual around the world, not to mention earthquakes. So I thought I’d review books on weather and natural phenomena this week.

Happy Thanksgiving


Anatomy of a Tornado
Terri Dougherty
The natural world of our planet is capable of many awe-inspiring, fearful events and a tornado is among the most amazing occurrences. This book is part of a series discussing disasters and starts with photos and a description of a tornado’s destructive force. (It really does sound like a fast-moving train roaring overhead.) Tornadoes need certain storm conditions to form, which are clearly and graphically described through the use of illustrations and highlighted explanations. There is also a clever experiment using a role of paper towels to let the reader comprehend how a tornado develops. Concise photos of tornadic activity from start to finish give good visual understanding of the storm’s shape. The book also explains away myths about twisters and shows ways of staying safe during a tornado. These destructive forces can occur anywhere and at any time, although they tend to be more prevalent at certain times of the day and year. Photos of the devastation caused by a tornado are breath taking. The book is a good jumping off point for a science teacher’s discussion of weather and its affects on humans and the planet.
BIBLIO: 2011, Velocity/Capstone Press, Ages 8 +, $30.65.
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Middle Reader
ISBN: 978-1-4296-5494-4
ISBN: 978-1-4296-6281-9

Volcano Alert!

Paul Challen
Some people spend their whole lives keeping an eye on the “sleeping giant” hovering over their land. Some volcanoes erupt with regularity, flinging molten rock high in the air or oozing a steady stream down the mountain side. Others, like Mount St. Helen in Oregon, slumber for more than a century before erupting. There are a lot of interesting tidbits of information tucked into this brief overview of volcanic activity and many of the photos are spectacular. Plus, who wouldn’t want to make a volcano? The reader will learn about the four types of volcanoes, the type of rock they make and myths related to why volcanoes erupt. The word volcano comes from the Roman myth that their god Vulcan sent up molten rock and metal as he worked at his forge making weapons. Volcanoes coat everything in their paths with ash or lava, destroying villages and trees, but they also are responsible for building new islands in some parts of the world. Although the reader might be inspired to learn more after reading this Guided Reading Level Q book, there is no bibliography except for a couple of websites.
BIBLIO: 2011, Crabtree Publishing Company, Ages 8 to 10, $8.95.
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Chapter Book
ISBN: 978-0-7787-1595-5
ISBN: 978-0-7787-1628-0
Water Wise
Alison Hawes
One in a series of books put out by Crabtree Connections teaching about history, medicine and environment among other things, this brief paperback discusses water and the ways we can use it more wisely. For instance, only 3% of all water on our planet is drinkable, yet people routinely waste gallons while brushing their teeth or watering the lawn—especially people in wealthy countries. People in poor countries frequently have improper sanitation and can get deadly diseases such as cholera or dysentery because their water supplies are polluted. Much useful information is contained in the book, but nothing really entices middle-grade children to care. Perhaps relating water shortages to lack of a swimming pool or only being able to wash one’s hair or taking a full bath once a week with water the whole family has to share, would give children more of an appreciation for the water problems the world is facing. Simple experiments would also drive the point home. However, teachers will certainly find value in using the information as a starting point in discussing the Earth’s water resources.
BIBLIO: 2011, Crabtree Publishing Company, Age 8 to 12, $8.95.
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Middle Reader
ISBN: 978-0-7787-9925-2
ISBN: 978-0-7787-9904-7

3 thoughts on “Is it snowing around you? Windy? Unseasonably warm?

  1. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving in spite of the weather. Make note of your feelings, they might fit in one of your new book ideas.

    Love, Joan

    1. Thanks for the advice, Joan.

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

      sarahsbookreflections wrote:

      > a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; } a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; } /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */

  2. Sarah,
    NF books are very popular especially with boys in elementary school. Keeping a stack around for grandsons’ visits would be a good idea. I like the reference to a volcano as a sleeping giant. Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. Did you decide to stay home because of the weather?

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