Cover image for Hurricane
London, Jonathan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow Junior ; London : Hi Marketing, 1999.
Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Reading Level:
AD 460 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.5 0.5 133396.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.8 2 Quiz: 30895 Guided reading level: L.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



"The power, danger, and excitement of a hurricane are brought to life in this picture book." (School Library Journal)

Told from the perspective of a boy who witnesses the sky growing ominously purple and rushes to evacuate with his family, Hurricane! is set in Puerto Rico and based on a childhood experience of the author's.

The family huddles together in a shelter while the winds howl. They and their neighbors take solace from gently singing "Silent Night" while waiting out the storm.

The you-are-there immediacy of this picture book, which ends with the family back home on a gorgeous sunny day, allows children to safely experience the drama of surviving a hurricane.

Author Notes

Jonathan London was born a "navy-brat" in Brooklyn, New York, and raised on Naval stations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. He received a Masters Degree in Social Sciences but never formally studied literature or creative writing. He began to consider himself a writer about the time he graduated from college. After college he became a dancer in a modern dance company and worked at numerous low-paying jobs as a laborer or counselor. He wrote poems and short stories for adults, earning next to nothing despite being published in many literary magazines. For some 20 years before he penned his first children's book, London was writing poetry and short stories for adults. In the early 1970s, he was reading his poems in San Francisco jazz clubs, and those experiences found their way into his witty children's book Hip Cat, which has been featured on the PBS children's television show Reading Rainbow.

After writing down the tale The Owl Who Became the Moon in 1989, London began to wonder if other people might want to read it. He picked up his kids' copy of Winnie-the-Pooh and saw that the book was published by Dutton, so he casually decided to send his story to them. Surprisingly enough, they wanted to publish him. Working with different illustrators, and occasionally with co-authors, London has produced literally dozens of books. Most have appeared under his name, but some have come out under a pseudonym, which still remains a secret.He has published over forty books and has earned recognitions from organizations like the National Science Teachers Association.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. Two boys enter the sea off the coast of Puerto Rico, with the wonder of their snorkeling captured in a colorful double-spread painting. When they come up for air, white-crested waves slap against ominous clouds in a purple sky, and an eerie light illuminates the horizon: a hurricane is coming. Even in the community shelter, the sound of the hurricane is fierce, and the light from a kerosene lamp reveals the anxiety of parents and the children they have cuddled in their laps. Finally, the storm is over, and the families return home. Luckily, the powerful winds and water have left minimal damage, and the boys soon return to play in the water. Although some little ones will wonder about the relationship between the boys--it's not entirely clear whether they are brothers or friends--London's text will satisfy children curious about hurricanes and also soothe their fears. There's no question about Sorensen's dramatic, convincing illustrations, though. The pictures really make the book. --Karen Simonetti

Publisher's Weekly Review

A boy and his family witness an awe-inspiring storm in this exhilarating picture book account. The narrator and his brother begin the day like any other‘they scramble down the cliff near their Puerto Rico home and go snorkeling. As they explore the coral reef, the boys don't know the weather has taken a turn for the worse. Once up for air, they see an ominous purple sky and quickly head for home. The family hastily grabs some belongings and gathers the dog, then drives through the wind and water to a nearby shelter. There they crowd together with neighbors and gently sing verses of "Silent Night" as the hurricane roars and crashes, threatening to collapse the building. The storm eventually passes and, happily, leaves little destruction in its wake. Based on London's (The Candystore Man, reviewed above) recollection of a childhood experience, this suspenseful tale has a "you are there" immediacy. Poetic descriptions of hammering winds, crashing waves and lightning which "scribbled on the dark clouds" eloquently capture the beauty and violence of severe weather. Sorensen's (I Love You as Much) slightly hazy oil paintings move suddenly from sunny island blues and greens to chillingly dark grays. Several changes of scenery demonstrate the artist's skill at depicting varying types of light and shadow, from soft morning sun to dim kerosene lamplight. The current popularity of weather topics-El Niño and natural disasters, especially-also makes this a timely volume. Ages 5-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-The power, danger, and excitement of a hurricane are brought to life in this picture book set in Puerto Rico. A young boy tells the story, which begins as he and his brother go snorkeling in a calm sea on a sunny day. Suddenly they notice that the sky and air have changed dramatically. They race home, and the family packs up and heads for a shelter as the winds pick up, "pushing the waves into mountains" and thrashing the palm trees "in a wild dance." In the morning as the wind dies down, the family returns home and starts cleaning up the debris. The beautiful oil paintings convey every nuance of the weather system as well as the human emotions evoked by the experience. On the final page, the boys return to the calm sunny beach. The last sentence is a bit of a letdown after all the excitement-"The sparkle of sun on the water was brighter than ever"-and the beach looks amazingly free of debris for the day after a hurricane. Quibbles aside, the story beautifully evokes its mood and has a seamless blend of text and pictures. Pair it with David Wiesner's Hurricane (Clarion, 1990), which also depicts two brothers weathering a storm from a slightly different perspective, or with nonfiction such as Franklyn Branley's Hurricane Watch (HarperCollins, 1985).-Sue Norris, Rye Free Reading Room, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.