Monday, March 2, 2015

MIX N'MATCH MONDAY: I Survived by Lauren Tarshis



Oscar Starling never wanted to come to Chicago.  But then Oscar finds himself not just in the heart of the big city, but in the middle of a terrible fire!  No one knows exactly how it began, but one thing is clear: Chicago is like a giant powder keg about the explode.

An army of firemen is trying to help, but this fire is a ferocious beast that wants to devour everything in its path, including Oscar! Will Oscar survive one of the most famous and devastating fires in history?


This I survived series in one of the most popular series in my school library.  The quick moving action and appealing characters make this series an ideal way to introduce children to historical fiction.  Lauren Tarshis gets a great big thank you from me for starting this series.

For this book in particular I would say this is a nice addition to the series.  Disasters have long fascinated me and I know I'm not the only one.  Not because of the horrible things that happen, but because of the good things that people often do in the midst of them.  In many ways they are an ultimate test.  And that is exactly what Oscar faces his first day in Chicago.  He isn't happy to be there having spent his whole life on a farm in Minneosota.  But with his mother's remarriage they've come to Chicago.  Having his family's luggage stolen the minute they get there doesn't help his attitude any.  So when he sees a chance to get his father's old Sheriff's badge back, he takes it.  Only things go downhill quickly as the fire rushes through the city propelled by high wind conditions.

Oscar is an interesting characters with troubles that go beyond the fire, including the two street children he runs into and wants to help.  Sometimes disasters help reveal what's really important in life.


The New York Times bestselling I SURVIVED expands to include this thrilling nonfiction exploration of five true stories, from the Titanic to the Henryville Tornadoes.

I SURVIVED is the New York Times bestselling historical fiction series that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Now author Lauren Tarshis brings them 5 true stories in a narrative nonfiction companion that explores the real names behind history's greatest disasters. Including:
Into the Black Water: The Titanic, 1912
The Wave: The Japanese Tsunami, 2011
Out of the Tornado: Henryville, Indiana, 2013
The Great Molasses Flood of 1919
In the Path of the Avalanche!


I Survived True Stories is a fabulous companion to Tarshis's I Survived series.  This book highlights five major disasters through the eyes of one key witness.  While looking specifically at one person's experience she also manages to blend in facts about the bigger disaster and the effect on the communities that experienced it.  The disasters covered include a tsunami, blizzard, tornado, flood, and the sinking of the Titanic.  All of these should be of great interest to child readers.  At the end of each section, Tarshis has included photographs and notes from the time period and interesting facts she uncovered as well as some of the resources that she used in writing the book.  A great book that works well with middle grade readers who are fascinated by disasters and how people survive them.

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