by Kate Hayden and Dorling Kindersley
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-One of the basic ideas that school librarians teach primary-grade students is the difference between fiction and nonfiction. So why do publishers continue to muddy the waters by using fictitious stories and characters in nonfiction books? Such is the case with Twisters! The first third of the book is devoted to a farmer and his dog, Barney, who stay outside in full view despite a tornado and hailstones the size of golf balls. The rest of the text provides a simple explanation of how tornadoes are formed and function, as well as their effects on the environment. The book is also filled with incredible real-life events surrounding tornadoes that occurred in the past and includes passable photographs. One has to wonder why one of those episodes was not used as the anecdotal introduction. More problematic for beginning readers, though, is that the book lacks any organizational structure such as chapters or sections. Segmenting the material is important to help beginning researchers navigate through or at least distinguish the fictitious beginning from the factual content. Other problems include the absence of the word "tornado" until well into the book and no mention of where twisters occur, other than Tornado Alley in the Midwest. While there is a need for nonfiction books on this subject written at this reading level, librarians had better wait.-Steve Clancy, Colonial Village Elementary School, Niagara Falls, NY
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Booklist, January 1, 2000, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.:
Gr. 2-3. The terror of tornadoes--the science, the geography, and the human drama--will certainly grab kids' interest in this Dorling Kindersley Reader, illustrated with full-color photos and drawings. Hayden begins with a fictional story about Rob, a farmer in Texas, who is suddenly caught up in a twister that smashes the windows of his house, explodes his barn, and hurls his truck into the sky. She then moves on to factual information about how twisters form; their shapes, sizes, colors, speeds, etc.; and how scientists track them and warn people to take shelter. The line between fiction and information is not always clear, but this easy reader is a good step up from popular picture-book stories such as George Ella Lyons' One Lucky Girl and the other titles in the Read-alike column «Storm-Tossed Picture Books» [BKL My 1 00].