By Taylor Morrison
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Hardcover, 9780618734634, 48pp.)
Publication Date: April 2007
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In 2004 tsunamis in the Indian Ocean swept over entire islands, wiping some of them completely off the map and killing more than 230,000 people. Unfortunately, tsunamis like these cannot be stopped, but they can be better understood. What causes these huge waves to form? How can they be detected? And what can be done to alert people that these fast-moving waves are approaching?
As author and illustrator Taylor Morrison explains, ever since a deadly tsunami hit Hawaii in 1946, scientists have been hard at work, developing the first Seismic Sea Wave Warning System and studying these powerful waves in hopes of saving lives by decreasing false alarms and by reacting with greater speed and accuracy to real threats.
Taylor Morrison pairs his artistic talent with extensive research to bring readers engaging nonfiction picturebooks. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he has illustrated several books for children. He was born in Kansas, raised in Illinois, and now makes his home in Oregon.
With particular reference to the tsunamis that struck Hawaii in 1946 and 1957, Morrison describes the creation of an earthquake warning system and the eastern edge of the Pacific Ocean. Both tsunamis were caused by quakes near the Aleutians. The first struck without much warning and claimed 159 lives; the second, with the system in place, resulted in property damage but no loss of life. The author describes the experiences of several survivors, explains how some of the warning system's devices work, and closes with a brief bibliography. Illustrated with expansive scenes painting in dark, rather ominous colors.
With paintings more powerful than photographs, the author/illustrator eloquently captures the drama and danger of the tsunami. . . . The pictures that show boiling waves, brooding skies and shattered towns will capture young readers. Older readers will relish the text and come away with a greater appreciation for the scientists who struggle to understand natural disasters in order to keep people safe.
Attractive paintings help tell the story and demonstrate the technology involved.
School Library Journal
"Both text and illustrations are of a piece with [Taylor's] subject matter: feats of engineering...speaks for engineers." Natural History Magazine
Natural History Magazine
Midwest Book Review