VOLCANO THE ERUPTION AND HEALING OF MOUNT ST. HELENS
Lauber, Patricia. 1986. VOLCANO THE ERUPTION AND HEALING OF MOUNT ST. HELENS. New York:
Bradbury Press. ISBN: 0027545008.
In VOLCANOES THE ERUPTION AND HEALING OF MOUNT ST. HELENS Patricia Lauber describes
the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 and the return of life to the area devastated by the eruption. Lauber begins
the book by describing Mount St. Helens, scientists predictions of eruption, and the warning signs Mount St. Helens exhibited
before the erupting. She then describes the eruption, the aftermath, and the return of life to the area.
Lauber does an excellent job presenting accurate and current facts to young readers.
Her facts are more current than some other books I have read on Mount St. Helens because Lauber details the changes that have
occurred to the area since the eruption. She describes the growth of fungi and plants that began the recovery process
that enable animals to return to the area. She also explains the connection between plants and animals and the biomes
of the region. She also includes information on the scientists studies and observations of the region; that this was
a great opportunity for scientists to learn many new things. Scientists learned that when insects shed, their molts
help enrich the soil. They could collect, measure, and study the molts and insect bodies. They were surprised
to learn the amount of carbon and other minerals in the molts and bodies. "One scientist said, 'We never even noticed
them before, because they're so small.'" (Lauber, p 44.) Lauber skillfully describes the theory of Plate Tectonics in
a way that young people can understand. She makes use of analogy, comparing the moving plates to a conveyor belt to
demonstrate plates moving under each other and pulling apart. Lauber credits the scientists and naturalists for their
help in writing the book, some of which were kind enough to read and comment on her manuscript. Laubers book contained
no instances of stereotypes or of anthropomorphism. She describes the importance of gophers to helping the area begin
new life without giving the gophers any human qualities.
The book contains five chapters which are logical in layout. Lauber describes
the volcano waking, the eruption, the survivors and colonizers, the links between life forms, and then describes the connection
between volcanoes and life. Many patterns are included in the book demonstrating the simple to complex connections between
the various forms of wildlife near Mount St. Helens. Lauber includes a Contents page and an Index in the book.
I was disappointed that there was no bibliography included or other sources to learn more about volcanoes or how wildlife
has recovered in other natural disasters.
The book is very attractive and inviting. The front and back cover of the book
show the same full-sized color photograph of the volcano venting steam from the dome. Lauber has included maps
showing the location of Mount St. Helens and other nearby volcanoes and as well as the Pacific Rim of Fire and diagrams of
volcanoes and the three types of motion of the earth's plates. She has included an abundance of color photographs of
Mount St. Helens and the devastation that occurred as well as the surviving and returning forms of wildlife. All photographs
have short captions that provide for browsing through the book easily. Without the photographs, much of the power of
the book would be lost. The photographs after the eruption make the area look like the surface of the moon. The
pictures showing what areas looked like before and after the quake make a memorable impression of the power of the eruption.
Lauber writes very clearly and the information she presents is interesting. I
thought the beginning of the book contained sentences that were short and choppy, but it seemed to improve further into the
reading. For instance, the first few sentences read "For many years the volcano slept. It was silent and still,
big and beautiful. Then the volcano, which was named Mount St. Helens, began to stir." (Lauber p. 1) The sentences
are flowing and sounding smoother further into the book. "These people knew that Mount St. Helens was a volcano, but they
did not fear it. To them it was simply a green and pleasant mountain, where forests of firs stretched up the slopes
and streams ran clear and cold." (Lauber p. 3) The topic of volcanoes naturally contains curiosity and wonder and Lauber
presents her information in such a way to answer questions that the reader might have. She describes how fungi mats
helped move the recovery process along quickly and how much material was blown off the top of the mountain when the eruption
occurred. I believe young readers would enjoy thinking about how volcanoes are made and what leads to an eruption. If
a bibliography had been included, I believe young readers would look for these other books to find out more about the
topic. Natural disasters are fascinating to read about to indulge our curiosity.
I enjoyed reading this book and learned several interesting facts about Mount St. Helens
that I hadn't known before. Most of those facts involved the recovery of the area. It is no wonder the book received
the Newbery Honor Award in 1987. The text is accurate, current and written well and the photographs greatly enhance
LINCOLN A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY
Freedman, Russell. 1987. LINCOLN A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY. New York: Scholastic by arrangement
with Clarion Books. ISBN: 059042145X.
Russell Freedman has written several non-fiction books for young adults. In this
book, Freedman has included an Acknowledgments and Picture Credits at the end where he gives thanks to several places
and people for helping him with his research, such as the Illinois State Historical Library, where he was able to use original
documents, as well as several other people and places that provided valuable information and research. Freedman's facts
are accurate and are presented in an interesting manner. He has included many quotes from and photographs of original
documents to make the book more interesting. "Freedman's extensive research is apparent in the liberal use he makes
of quotations from original sources (letters, contemporary newspaper articles, etc.)" (School Library Journal, 1 December
1987.) Freedman's book begins with describing where and when Lincoln was born and ends with the description of the crowds
that met the train that was carrying Lincoln's body back to Springfield, Illinois after his assassination and death.
Freedman's facts are clearly stated and any stereotypes that are included in the book are explained as being common to that
The book is very clearly laid out in a logical manner, being written in the chronological
order in which the events happened in Lincoln's life. Freedman has divided the book into seven chapters. The first
chapter, The Mysterious Mr. Lincoln, gives a general description of Lincoln and describes some misconceptions that many have
had about him and dispels these with facts and reasons for why they are not true. Freedman then writes about Lincoln's
childhood, law and politics, his beliefs about the slaves, emancipation, the civil war, and his assassination. What
really makes this a spectacular book and worthy of winning the Newbery Medal are the many extras that Freedman has included
such as the section called "In Lincoln's Footsteps" which lists several historical sites that played an important part in
Lincoln's life, career, and death that people may go visit. Freedman also included a section that describes other books
about Lincoln that the reader may also wish to find to read more about Lincoln. An index enables the reader to
easily look up information quickly. Freedman has included a great many black and white photographs obtained from
various archives and historical sources, drawings and political cartoons from Lincoln's time. All photgraphs, drawings
and politcal cartoons have captions describing each item which makes browsing the book easy.
The design of the book is very attractive with a full sized photograph of Lincoln on the cover
and a smaller photograph showing Lincoln outside a tent in a camp from the Civil War on the back cover. Freedman has
included more than eighty black and white photographs to coordinate with the topic or person being described in the text.
He has also included drawings and political cartoons from the time period as well. Each has an appropriate caption to
go with it.
Freedman text is crisp, interesting, and informative without using large words
that young readers would have a hard time understanding or talking down to them. For example, Freedman describes the
process by which senators at the time were elected in a manner that is easy for young readers to understand. "At the
time, senators were elected by state legislatures, not by popular vote. When the returns came in, the Republicans had
not won enough seats in the legislature to send Lincoln to the Senate. Douglas was reelected by a narrow margin." (p.
60) I found int interesting that in two places Freedman has placed a series of photographs showing how he had changed
in appearance over a time span. Once instance shows Lincoln growing a beard, and the other instance shows how Lincoln
had aged dramatically during the course of the Civil War. Some of the photographs are of places that a person can go
to and visit today. They rouse the reader's curiousity because you wonder if it looks like that today. There is
a drawing on page 34 of the Lincoln's sitting room in their house in Springfield. It makes the reader wonder what it
would look like to actually go and visit the room in the house. What would the colors and the pattern in the wallpaper
look like, the carpet and drapes? I have actually been to the Lincoln home on an annual basis for our 7th grade class
trip, and the reader cannot grasp what it looks like in actuality from the drawing in the book. The Lincoln's used bright
colors in decorating. To help satisfy the reader's curiousity to read more about Lincoln, Freedman has included a description
of more books that have been written about Lincoln as well as sites of historical importance that can be visited. Freedman's
enthusiasm and interest in Lincoln carry through his writing. He clearly spells out the Lincoln of legend from the Lincoln
of fact. Lincoln was talkative and witty, but often kept his inner feelings to himself and could be quite moody.
Overall, this is an excellent source of information about Abraham Lincoln. It
would be a great book to use as an introduction for a class beginning the Civil War. The photographs and illustrations
can be shown to a class and the captions read to inspire curiosity and enthusiam for the subject. It may inspire students
to desire to read the book and learn more about this complex President.
Accessed 12 March, 2005.