Cover image for Fire storm
Fire storm
George, Jean Craighead, 1919-2012.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Katherine Tegen Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Alex enjoys kayaking behind the raft of his aunt and uncle as they journey down Idaho's Salmon River, until they find themselves in the middle of a forest fire.
Reading Level:
650 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.8 0.5 73483.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.5 3 Quiz: 36085 Guided reading level: O.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



When Axel and his family take a rafting trip down the swift Salmon River, they sense little risk when smoke appears in the quiet, dry wilderness. Suddenly, orange flames flash dangerously near, and Axel isn't so sure of their safety anymore. Before long, they are caught in a blazing forest and must search for a safe hideout. Will Axel and his family make the right call before the roaring fire gets too close?

In this second story about the adventures of Axel, acclaimed nature writer Jean Craighead George and award-winning artist Wendell Minor recount the riveting tale of a fearsome fire storm and the cycle of regeneration that follows.

Author Notes

Jean Craighead George was born on July 2, 1919 in Washington, D.C. She received degrees in English and science from Pennsylvania State University. She began her career as a reporter for the International News Service. In the 1940s she was a member of the White House press corps for The Washington Post.

During her lifetime, she wrote over 100 novels including My Side of the Mountain, which was a 1960 Newbery Honor Book, On the Far Side of the Mountain, Julie of the Wolves, which won the Newbery Medal, Julie, and Julie's Wolf Pack. She also wrote two guides to cooking with wild foods and an autobiography entitled Journey Inward. In 1991, she became the first winner of the School Library Media Section of the New York Library Association's Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature. She died on May 15, 2012 at the age of 92.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. On a float trip, Axel, his dog Grits at his side, paddles his kayak while his aunt and uncle travel in an inflatable raft. Although the fire warden tells them not to worry about forest fires, three days into the trip they see fire on the other side of the mountain. Lightning starts new fires, and smoke soon fills the river canyon. We should get out of here, says Uncle Paul, but he deems departure too risky. Then, even though Uncle Paul insists the fire won't burn on their side of the river, the wind changes and the fire jumps. Children will be taken by the drama of the events, which eventually turn out fine, but they may wonder about the adults' judgment (and why the adults are in a raft and Axel is alone in his kayak). Minor's dramatic red-and-orange pictures underscore the danger, but it's not always easy to visualize where the fire is. Larger libraries may want this to fill a need for books about outdoor adventures, but both the story and the art could have been tightened. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fire Storm by Jean Craighead George, illus. by Wendell Minor, the second book in the Outdoor Adventures series, which launched with Cliff Hanger, reads like an episode from an adventure novel. This time, Axel (once again accompanied by his dog, Grits) kayaks down the Salmon River with his aunt and uncleuntil a forest fire surrounds them and Axel's quick thinking saves the day. In Minor's dramatic paintings, the golden fire is both menacing and beautiful; smoke rises like mist in the trees. George uses the graceful metaphor of the phoenix to reassure both Axel and readers that the forest's devastation will not last forever. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-An intriguing tale of survival that is based on a true story. While making their way down Idaho's Salmon River, Axel, Uncle Paul, and Aunt Charlotte suddenly find themselves surrounded by raging forest fires. Heat lightning ignites dry pine needles and with the wind changing direction, "-the many fires hurricaned into one thundering fire storm." As the drama unfolds, the family watches the "orange wall of flame" and hears trees that "exploded like rifle shots." Uncle Paul, an experienced forester, advises them to stay in the middle of the river, and Aunt Charlotte hands out wet bandannas to tie over their faces. Axel proves to be an accomplished adventurer himself, and finds a safe, burned-out campsite. Although saddened by the "smoldering trees and smoking stumps," he gets a lesson on regeneration and is assured that the forest is "not lost-.Just altered. It will come back and be healthier." Minor's realistic pencil-crayon illustrations capture the rugged landscape of cliffs and sloping mountains. The story is related calmly and with reverence for nature.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.