Seymour Simon has written over two hundred science books for children. His website informs us that
over half of them have been named Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children by the National Science Teachers Association.
A former science teacher, Simon enjoys children and teaching them about the world in which we live. He has outstanding credentials
which would cause the reader to believe that his books are factual.
His book HURRICANES begins with the cover which shows a mass of swirling clouds in a distinct rotational
pattern. The photograph is rather unusual in that it was taken from above the cloud. It certainly makes the reader wonder
what else might be inside the cover!
The book does not disappoint. There are nineteen photographs depicting the force of this type of
potentially lethal type of storm. Most of the photos are sized to fit the paper with no borders, spilling over the center
of the book onto the facing page which emphasizes that the storms are almost bigger than life. There are no captions to the
pictures. The text is rather large and double spaced, making this nonfiction book user-friendly for a third- or fourth-grader.
Simon takes the reader logically from telling how and where hurricanes are formed to a discussion
of the rating system denoting a hurricane’s strength and, then, to information on what precautions you can take in the
event of a hurricane. There is no table of contents, chapter breaks, index, bibliography, or index. The book is less than
30 pages long, however, so looking up information would not be too difficult.
Simon writes in a factual straightforward manner. He uses comparisons so that children can more
fully understand his statements. For example:
Hurricanes are the world’s worst storms. That may seem strange, because tornadoes have stronger
winds that can reach over 300 miles per hour. Hurricane winds rarely blow at even half that speed. But a tornado is usually
less than a mile wide on the ground, and even a small hurricane is hundreds of miles wide.
Tornadoes usually last less than an hour, while hurricanes last days or even weeks. Every second,
a large hurricane releases the energy of ten atomic bombs like those used in World War II. A hurricane can cause more damage
than any other single weather event.
Sentences are not long, but are packed with information. I believe children would want to read
more about hurricanes after reading this book.
Simon, Seymour. 2003. HURRICANES. New York: Harper Collins. ISBN: 0688162924.
Seymour Simon’s web page, www.seymoursimon.com.