Friday, April 6, 2012

Danger! Earthquakes

Simon, Seymour. Danger! Earthquakes. Seastar Books, 2002. Unpaged. $8.99. ISBN 9780329278151.


Aimed at the “low-level, high-interest” market, these Level 2 books are appropriate for children “in grades 1-3, [and] will capture the attention of beginners as well as older, less-able readers hungry for facts about the world” (Kirkus Reviews, 2002). Lots of photographs of earthquake devastation accompany the text of this early reader, as well as a map of the world that marks the places where major earthquakes have hit in the past few decades. Terms such as the Richter scale and the Mercalli scale are defined within the text, as well as other geological terms such as crust, mantle, and plates. Seymour offers information about some of the most famous earthquakes globally, including Italy’s 1908 quake, Chile’s 1960 quake, and the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, as well as connecting readers back home to the U.S. Disappointingly, there are no nonfiction text features in this book, such as a table of contents, glossary, or index.

Curriculum Connections:

So many nonfiction fans just love to read about natural disasters! Mostly, though, these are “looking” (not reading) books. This book has text that is written at a much more accessible level, with those engaging facts and photographs that will appeal to reluctant (and/or low) readers. This text could be used with students doing research projects on natural disasters; this could work particularly well if paired in research teams of mixed reading levels, so that readers could be reading on-topic at their own level.

Personal Reflections:

A new fact I learned is that Alaska has the most earthquakes in the United States, with a magnitude 7 earthquake occurring almost every year. It has had some of the most severe quakes in the U.S.


Age/Interest Range:



Earthquakes, Geology, Natural Disasters, Science


Super Storms, also by Seymour, is in this same series and has a very similar tone , with more terrific and horrifying photos of devastation!

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