HURRICANE HUNTERS! Riders on the Storm – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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hurrTitle: HURRICANE HUNTERS! Riders on the Storm

Written and illustrated by Chris Demarest

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2006

Ages: 7 -11

Themes: hurricanes, research, meteorologists, WC-130 Hercules, weather


Opening Lines:

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.

National Hurricane Center:

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.

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18 Responses to HURRICANE HUNTERS! Riders on the Storm – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Given NOA’s weather predictions for an active hurricane season this year, this looks like a great selection. I often miss books like these if my library shelves them in NF because it’s so hard to find the new titles there. Thanks for sharing it, Joanna!

    • Joanna says:

      I have to say, I scheduled this a month ago, and had no idea we would have such a devastating hurricane last week in Oklahoma. It is certainly topical.

  2. What a cool find, Joanna. NASA does weather research to with a DC-8, modified U2 and other aircraft. But they don’t have a cool book about them. 🙂

  3. This sounds fascinating, Joanna! I’m not even technically a kid and I’d really like to read it! Thanks so much for sharing – I can think of a lot of kids this will appeal to! 🙂

  4. I’ve seen this book several times recently. I am so glad you reviewed it because I know kids would like it. With the crazy weather patterns recently, it is such a good choice for teachers and parents. Kid’s need to know that there are individuals who devote their to tracking and providing information about hurricanes. I’ve always been fascinated by weather trackers. Like your last two kid activities. Good to have on our list.

  5. Joanna says:

    Thanks, Pat, I do think many kids and adults would find this fascinating, especially as you say, with our weird weather patterns of late!

  6. Cathy Mealey says:

    Very topical and great for letting kids know that the scope of the US military is broad and varied!

  7. I think I would really like this book!

  8. Chris Demarest has done a whole “series” of fantastic, dramatically illustrated, large-size picture books about extreme professions. If you like this, you’ll also like Chris Demarest’s SMOKEJUMPERS 1-10 (about the highly trained wildland firefighters who parachute into remote areas to extinguish fires); MAYDAY! MAYDAY! A Coast Guard Rescue (about a dangerous coast guard rescue mission of a boat in distress during a storm); and HOTSHOTS! (about the elite firefighters trained to brave wildfires and dig trenches to limit the destruction of land and wildlife.) I’m so proud to have been editor and publisher of these fine, important books.

    • Joanna says:

      Thanks so much for pointing out others in this series, Emma. These would all be great additions to our PPBF resource list.

  9. Oh yeah, I could definitely see you as a pilot too! I’ll be looking for this one – thanks!

  10. Barbara says:

    I have some kids in my class who would LOVE this book:))

  11. What a great find Joanna! I can imagine you would find this profession very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Joanna says:

    Haha, you know me well, Diane!

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