HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Gopher to the Rescue!: A Volcano Recovery Story
Author: Terry Catasus Jennings
Illustrator: Laurie O’Keefe
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-60718-131-6 (hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60718-141-5 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60718-151-4 (ebook)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4-9
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Jennings, Terry Catasus. Gopher to the Rescue!: A Volcano Recovery Story (published in 2012 by Sylvan Dell Publishing, 612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464). When a volcano erupts, is it possible for the surrounding countryside which has been devastated to recover, and if so, how can it occur? All the animals in the wilderness, such as the snowshoe hare, the black bear, the gopher, the elk, the squirrel, sense that something is different on the nearby mountain. The ground shakes. Steam and ash burst from the mountain’s top. Then the volcano erupts. Many of the animals are killed, but gopher is safe in his burrow with plenty of tasty roots and bulbs to eat. Over the next few days, weeks, months, and years, what happens to bring both plant and animal life back to the mountain area? And what part does gopher play in it all?
This fictionalized story, with text by science author Terry Catasus Jennings and art by scientific illustrator Laurie O’Keefe, is based on the surprising observations made by scientists who have spent years studying the return of life to the mountain following the eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980. The “For Creative Minds” section has further information on volcanoes and tectonic plates, a quiz concerning how natural disasters bring habitat changes, and a hands-on activity about pressure and melting. In addition, sixty to seventy pages of cross-curricular teaching activities and three interactive reading comprehension and math quizzes on Gopher to the Rescue can be found at the publisher’s website to help parents and educators extend the learning possibilities. It is a picture book that is both fun to read and great as a launching pad for educational discussion.