Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Inside Hurricanes by Mary Kay Carson

Inside Hurricanes by Mary Kay Carson
Copyright 2010
Sterling - Children's (ages 9-12)
48 pages

Inside Hurricanes introduces youngsters to the dangerous rotating storms known as "hurricanes" on the western side of the globe and "cyclones" in the eastern hemisphere, shows what they look like from above and inside the storm, describes how and why they develop and the different stages of developing hurricanes, shows the results of these horrendous storms and describes how to prepare for a coming hurricane.

The photographs and diagrams in Inside Hurricanes are, for the most part, nice and large (there are a few smaller ones, naturally, for the sake of fitting the layout). Hurricanes are beautiful when shown from space and yet so utterly destructive. You get a view of all angles with satellite photos, a cut-away diagram, photos like the cover shot of the trees blowing and the waves surging inland, and shots of flood and wind damage after. Inside Hurricanes gives children a pretty comprehensive look at hurricanes for such a short book and part of what makes it wonderful is the fold-out pages, which allow for a lot of room for big, gorgeous photographs.

The only thing I disliked about this book was the focus on New Orleans in the historical section, when Hurricane Katrina was described. It still baffles me that the horrendous flooding, which we know to be at least partly caused by human failure, gets so much attention when the sheer force of the hurricane occurred to the east. I personally believe the pictures of all the rubble and the houses and businesses that were virtually shredded till they looked like piles of toothpicks shouldn't be overlooked. It's both startling and graphically illustrative of the power of hurricanes to see that kind of damage and for that reason (plus the fact that New Orleans photos are the most commonly seen) it would have been nice if the author had chosen a before-and-after of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, rather than downtown New Orleans. But, that's a personal preference.

Just a note about the age range: I'm going to go out on a limb and say this book can be read to or by younger children (based on ability, of course) or at least flipped through and enjoyed for the photographs because I'm pretty sure my kids would have enjoyed it -- and the entire series -- around first grade and onward. Most important is that they're best saved till after children have exited the tearing stage and are able to handle fold-out pages with care.

Inside Hurricanes is a big paperback book (10" by 9.5") with a stiff cover and 10 pages that fold out so that as you're reading about hurricanes, how they form, specific hurricanes and the damage they've done, etc., you get to look at large spreads of photographs and charts.

There's an entire series of "Look Inside" books by Sterling and I have 4 of them. I've flipped through all of them and I think they're pretty cool. I'm a bigger fan of weather than peeking inside the body and I nearly got dinosaured to death when my boys were younger, so Inside Hurricanes and Inside Tornadoes are my favorites, but they're all equally impressive.

©2010 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. I think the dinosaur book would appeal to my youngest. I'd probably skip the storm books for now because he has a huge fear of tornadoes and hurricanes (even though we live far from both).

    I remember the before and after shots of the Mississippi coast from the hurricane and they were shocking - if I'm remembering correctly things were pretty much stripped bare down to the foundations in spots.

  2. Alyce,

    That's what's great about a series like this -- you can pick and choose what you'd like to read about. I think I'd avoid the weather books if I were you, too.

    They were and they are -- stripped to the foundations on the MS Coast. A lot of people were not able to rebuild homes and businesses because of the insurance nightmare. I can't remember how far in the damage went but everything on the beach and along the highway that fronted the Gulf was wiped away. It had gotten to the point that you couldn't see the ocean along most of the Mississippi Coast because it was so built up with condos, casinos and other businesses. That's the one thing I see as good -- the beach itself is empty and beautiful, again.

    But, there was an incredibly beautiful stretch of homes and old-growth trees (100+ -year-old homes that had survived numerous intense hurricanes) that also were wiped out completely. It's sad to see the emptiness where homes used to be, beautiful or not.

  3. Dear Bookfool,
    Thanks for mentioning how Katrina's devastation of Mississippi is always overlooked! The Gulf Coast region is where Katrina was truly a "natural" disaster. New Orleans' flooding has always seemed to be to more of a human-created disaster caused by poor levy engineering/construction and deficient planning. I actually submitted a dramatic before-after of Biloxi region. But the powers that be went with New Orleans. Glad we at least got the record high storm surges that washed away Gulf Coast towns in there. Keep on bloggin'!

  4. Mary Kay,

    I'm heartened to know that you at least tried to get the Biloxi before/after included in your book and a little sad that the "powers that be" made that choice to go with New Orleans -- although it's definitely a positive that the storm surge info was in there. Thanks for letting me know about the change that was made to your book!


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