Monday, May 9, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Tornado!

After the disasters that have struck around the country, it seems appropriate and not a little ironic for me to review a book about one type of disaster: tornadoes.  It does bring home, however, the point that when publishing science books it is almost impossible to keep up to date.  This book came out just a few weeks ago and yet some of the records mentioned in the book have been shattered by the recent outbreak of tornadoes.  Still as with most National Geographic Children's books, it provides a high quality introduction to the phenomenon we call tornadoes.

Tornado! The Story Behind These Twisting, Turning, Spinning, and Spiraling Storms
by Judith Bloom Fradin & Dennis Brindell Fradin
National Geographic, 2011
Grades 2 and up
Reviewed from personal copy.

The book starts by telling the reader about a monster tornado that struck Greensburg, Kansas back in 2007.  Using bulletins from the weather service and comments by those who lived through it the reader gets a glimpse of the terror and incredible damage a tornado can cause.  The photographs, as one would expect from a National Geographic book, are stunning.  The picture of an almost entirely black sky with a tornado touching down is shiver inducing.  There is nothing quite so humbling as Mother Nature.

The following chapters talk about the development of tornado science and prediction. The charts and diagrams and quick facts add nicely.  The design of the book is very attractive and appealing, especially for reluctant readers. The lists of tornado records will of course need to be adjusted after this most recent outbreak, but the numbers are still impressive.  For example, the widest known tornado was two miles, the highest wind speeds ever recorded on the planet were in a tornado, 318 miles per hour.  Facts like these are hard to fathom for those of us who haven't witnessed them.  Like most National Geographic publications, the photographs are its strength, creating awe on the part of the reader. The list of websites and books at the end of the book are a nice complement to the rest of the book.  I highly recommend this book for those who want a better understanding of tornadoes and their affect on human lives.


Nonfiction Monday highlights nonfiction books for children and occurs every Monday.  This week's host is Shelf-Employed. Thanks for stopping by!

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