Friday, November 25, 2011

Tornado! the story behind these twisting, turning, spinning, and spiraling storms by Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin

Tornado! the story behind these twisting, turning, spinning, and spiraling storms
Judith Bloom Fradin & Dennis Brindell Fradin
National Geographic Kids, 2011

I've always been fascinated by tornadoes. I grew up in the Midwest where tornadoes were frequent. Though I never actually saw a tornado, I can assure you that we did have regular tornado drills in school and at home. So when I saw this book on the 2011 CYBILS middle school/young adult nonfiction list, I couldn't wait to read it. The Fradin's, husband and wife writing team, have put together a really exciting book about nature's most violent storms. 

The book's dynamic design will immediately hook readers. The Fradin's begin with a brief recounting of the worst tornado on U.S. soil. It was in Greensburg, Kansas on May 4, 2007 that a tornado with 200-mile-per-hour winds struck. 

"I felt our house lifting away -- I felt the suction, the pulling," recalls Janice Haney, a Greensburg resident. "I thought we were going to be lifted away. It only lasted two or three minutes for the tornado to go over. After it passed, our house was gone and we had no stairs left to climb up out of our basement." 

The thrust of the book is not only how destructive tornadoes are, but also the incredible impact the science of predicting tornadoes has had on saving lives. 

We read about how storm chasers risk their lives to test new technology that helps predict a tornado's path and intensity, and the author's explain the Fujita Scale that rates the strength and estimated wind speed.  (An EF5 tornado has wind speeds of more than 200 mph)

"A typical twister lasts for less than 15 minutes and travels along the ground for about six miles before fizzling out." 

Did you know that people who survive a tornado have sore ears? It is because of the twister's lower air pressure "the pressure inside the ears become greater than the pressure outside of the body. This sucks the eardrums outwards, which is painful." 

The book's design is really appealing. It looks like a collage of interesting facts, photos, and text. National Geographic reputation for stunning photos is evident here. Wow! I  I was particularly drawn to the photo that spans two pages, (page 18-19) It shows a twister racing across the Texas plains. It is huge next to the itty-bitty house you can see in the foreground.  

Libraries, both school and public, looking to add vibrant books about weather, which are fund in the 551area, will not want to miss out on this book.

5 Stars
(Grades 5 and up)

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