Written and illustrated by Chris Demarest
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2006
Ages: 7 -11
Themes: hurricanes, research, meteorologists, WC-130 Hercules, weather
A quiet, restful day at a southern shore masks the chaos of a storm building in the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s a calm, sunny beach-friendly day in the SE of the USA. Invisible to the beach-goers eyes a hefty storm is brewing over the Atlantic, tracked by the National Hurricane Center in Miami. These meteorologists work in tandem with an Air Force base in Mississippi, home to a special weather squadron known as the Hurricane Hunters. Demarest takes the readers up in a WC-130 (Herk) and right into the eye of a category five storm, a couple of days from land. While protective measures are being taking in locations prone to being hit, the weathermen in the aircraft are carrying out scientific research with dropsondes, that will help them find out about speed, direction and hurricane growth, all aiding predictions that will potentially save lives.
Why I like this book:
This is a book for boys and girls who like details, danger, science, practical research, aircraft etc. The first double-page spread is an intricately detailed diagram of the interior and exterior of a WC-130 Hercules. The final two pages are given over to an extensive author’s note details the first documented flight into a hurricane and many more facts about hurricanes and the Hurricane Hunters and their specially-equipped plane. He also mentions some of the specific hurricanes that ravaged SE USA over recent years. The facts are given from the very human perspective of these scientist-pilots and I can imagine that some adventurous and curious kids could picture themselves taking on this risky occupation. I learnt a lot of new facts and it certainly gives the reader an appreciation for the Hurricane Hunters. I might just add that this goes on the growing list of ‘occupations I wish I had tried’! The pastel drawings contain emotion and detail and convey the tension, concentration and looming threat powerfully.
The fifty-third Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Hurricane Hunters): www. hurricanehunters.com
Scholastic has a number of pages of facts and experiments on severe weather and natural disasters.
6 Hurricane Activities fromKids Ahead.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.