CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 13 . . . . March 4, 2005
People have always had a special fascination with the powerful destructive forces of natural disasters. The titles in this series offer readers abundant information coupled with excellent maps, diagrams and colour photographs. Averaging 12 chapters each, the books are similar in format and include such topics as the definition of the featured disaster, early beliefs and myths, a safety plan, examples of the world’s worst, effects of the disaster, cleanup efforts, and a section entitled “Recipe for a Disaster” which gives instructions for a scientific experiment related to the major topic. With the exception of one experiment which requires the use of a stove, most of the experiments can be performed with little or no adult supervision. A table of contents, a brief glossary and an index are also provided.
Volcano Alert! features the five different types of volcanoes - stratovolcano, cinder cone, lavadome, shield and caldera - and how they are formed. Also discussed are various kinds of lava, post-eruption debris, volcano forecasting, and the ways in which volcanologists categorize volcanoes and eruptions. Some famous volcanoes, such as Vesuvius, Krakatoa, Mount Pelé and Mauna Loa, are pictured.
Tornado Alert! contains information about the conditions necessary for tornado formation as well as the differences between waterspouts, landspouts and gustnadoes, the structures and various radar systems designed to measure and photograph tornadoes and supercells, and the Fujita Scale, a tornado classification system. Of all the titles in the series, this one is the most focused on the United States, perhaps due to Tornado Alley’s being there.
In Earthquake Alert! the author discusses the causes of earthquakes, types of faults and seismic waves, boundaries - divergent, convergent and transform - which affect the movement of tectonic plates, the work of seismologists, and the Richter Scale, which rates the severity of earthquakes. The damage from an earthquake’s after effects, which includes tsunamis, liquefaction (soil turning into quicksand), landslides, mudslides, avalanches and fires, is also featured along with information about new building codes and techniques which ensure that structures such as buildings and bridges can withstand an earthquake’s destructive forces.
Severe Storm and Blizzard Alert! highlights both rainstorms and snowstorms. The formation of thunder and lightning is pictured by means of diagrams. Other topics include famous storms and the tools used in weather prediction, such as weather balloons, satellites and Doppler radar.
Though most children have seen the results of a wildfire, this natural disaster is, perhaps, the least understood by youngsters. Wildfire Alert! describes the stages of a fire, the types of wildfire (ground, surface and crown), and the conditions that start it and keep it burning. Forest fires and their aftermath and the ways in which forest fires are fought are other topics covered. Readers will also learn about “prescribed” fires, those fires purposely set by firefighters to prevent uncontrolled wildfires, and how rainforests are cleared for farmland with the use of fire. Finally, the author discusses the ways that animals and plants adapt to fire.
The anatomy of a hurricane, its formation and its four stages, from tropical disturbance to a full-blown hurricane, and the five-category Saffir-Simpson Scale for rating the strength of these deadly storms are just a few of the topics covered in Hurricane and Typhoon Alert!. Readers will learn how hurricanes are named as well as the problems inherent in a hurricane’s aftermath and the cleanup efforts involved.
text is easy for students to comprehend. Where there are more difficult
concepts presented, diagrams accompany the text. Colourful backgrounds,
an attractive layout, abundant, excellent photographs, all suitably
labeled, and even a variety of text fonts, serve to sustain the reader’s
interest. Despite one very minor flaw - a few editing glitches - this
series is worthy of purchase.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird’s Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal
use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.