Hurricanes: Earth’s Mightiest Storms



Book: Hurricanes: Earth’s Mightiest Storms

Author: Patricia Lauber

Illustrator: Gary Tong

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, republished in 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0606366533 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0606366539 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0590474078 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0590474073 Paperback

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)

Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12

Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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     Lauber, PatriciaHurricanes: Earth’s Mightiest Storms (published in 1996 by Scholastic Paperbacks, a division of Scholastic Inc., 555 Broadway, New York City, NY  10012).  What are earth’s strongest storms?  Tornados can do a lot of harm in a short while, but for sheer power over a large area for longer periods of time, the answer is hurricanes, also known as typhoons, cyclones, and willy-willies.  Beginning with the unnamed but still remembered monster storm of 1938 that hit the northeastern United States, award-winning author Patricia Lauber explains what scientists know about how hurricanes are made, how they can be detected and predicted, and how much damage they can do.  Some of the specific storms of special note which are discussed include Camille at Biloxi, MS, in 1969; Hugo at Charleston, SC, in 1989; and Andrew at Miami, FL, in 1992; among others.

This attractive, well-written book is a great introduction for young readers to help them understand the power, majesty, and destruction of hurricanes and is well illustrated with crisp drawings, clear maps, and numerous photographs, both black and white and full-color.  In the back, there are an index and a bibliography for further reading.  There is one rather eerie “prophecy.”  Lauber wrote, in 1996, “Some areas must take special steps to protect themselves.  One of these is New Orleans, which lies six feet below sea level and is mostly bordered by water.  The city has built a flood wall, eight and a half miles long, to hold back lakes that could send 20 feet of water into the city during a big hurricane.  But the city needs a stronger building code and many more inspectors.”  Obviously, this warning was written well before Hurricane Katrina in 2005—but apparently not heeded.

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