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Twisted True Tales From Science: Disaster…

Twisted True Tales From Science: Disaster Discoveries

by Stephanie Bearce

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book is part of a series although it is the first that I have seen. I would say that it hits the mark in appealing to middle school children who may not be interested in science per se but who will be fascinated by these stories. They are short, well illustrated, and well chosen. I was a little worried by two major sections entitled “It’s the Earth’s Fault” and “Humans Caused It”, but the stories are about specific events rather than more global views and each short (5 pages or so) story ends with a brief explanation about what scientists have learned to explain or prevent similar occurrences. There is a bibliography (a few books, mostly links and/or news articles) that would lead interested kids to more information. There are also short hands-on experiments that illustrate principles and some mini biographies of “disaster daredevils” that show how far some people are willing to go to pursue explanations. ( )
  ehousewright | Jun 4, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is the third book I've read by the author, Stephanie Bearce, from Prufrock Press, and it's just as good as the first two. These are perfect books for the late grade school/early middle school age kids on your book giving list. Interesting tales of the science behind major disasters and the science that has come out of them. Also cool little science experiments that kids can do at home, illustrating the points made in the tales. So much fun, it made me want to be 12-years-old again, so I could discover all of this!
  setheredge | Jun 4, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
When the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program offered Twisted True Tales From Science : Disaster Discoveries, I requested a copy because I had enjoyed Medical Mayhem from the same series. This entry is just as informative and fun.

The book is divided into three sections: natural disasters, man-made disasters, and disaster daredevils. The natural disasters date from 79 to 2004 A.D. The man-made disasters date from 27 to 2011 A.D. We get volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, tornadoes, explosions, an early example of shoddy construction, a nuclear disaster, a gas crater, killer smog, and killer lakes. As for the daredevils, readers get to learn how brave souls try to help with avalanches, hurricanes, volcanoes, and forest fires. We're also told about what science tries to do to prevent man-made disasters or loss of life in natural ones.

The book is illustrated with drawings, some in color, and photographs. There are some charts, too. ( I had no idea that the 1815 eruption of Tambora was five times as big as the more famous Krakatoa eruption in 1883.) Each section has two experiments to do at the end. Of course the ever-popular erupting volcano is one of them.

One paragraph that I've reread several times already is in the chapter on the Halifax Explosion of 1917 (a disaster I knew about only because of an episode of 'Ghostly Encounters'). It's the telegraph message Vincent Coleman sent moments before he died. It doesn't seem as if he'd have survived if he'd continued running for his life instead of turning back to the train office to save unknown train passengers, but how I honor the fact that he could think of them at a time when he wouldn't have been blamed for thinking only of himself.

My second favorite story about a person's actions saving others is that of Tilly Smith and the 2004 Thailand tsunami.

There's an eleven-page bibliography that includes websites for further learning.

Supplemental notes:

Thanks to the 'Little Ice Age: Big Chill' documentary I've watched (which is available on DVD and I do recommend it), I know about another consequence of the Year Without A Summer that's not mentioned in this book: Mary Shelley's famous little novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was written while she was stuck indoors during her summer vacation. If you're a big fan of the Frankenstein monster, you might wish to give silent thanks to Tambora.)

Although there are two examples given for man-made floods, this book doesn't mention a much more famous one: the 1889 Johnstown Flood. Reading about a foolish modification to the dam and lack of sufficient dam maintenance and repair on the wealthy owners' part made my blood boil.

This book writes about the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant disaster, but not the earlier one at Chernobyl in 1986. I think Chernobyl is a better example of a man-made disaster because it involved both design flaws and operator error without the involvement of two natural disasters. You might want to plug "Chernobyl Today" into your search engine to see photographs of the area.

I love the gleeful expressions on the faces of the first two illustrations of disaster daredevils as much as the cover guy who looks as if he might be surfing down the volcano if we could see more of his bottom half. I definitely recommend this book for the target tweens and older readers. ( )
  JalenV | May 28, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Twisted True Tales from Science: Disaster Discoveries has much to recommend it. I like that the descriptions of the disasters are only a few pages long. This makes it easy to pick up when you only have a few minutes to read. Bearce's descriptions are fascinating, and I learned about a lot of disasters that I hadn't heard about before. However, as this book is aimed towards children, I found that some of the descriptions were a bit too graphic to the extent that I didn't give it to my kids to read. For example, in the Peshtigo fire, the author wrote, "Infants cried and people screamed in pain as the white-hot fire rained ash and burning embers on their heads." I thought that was unnecessarily over the top. ( )
  Jum | May 23, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
While the language of this book is geared more for a pre-teen/early teen audience, it is quite suitable and interesting as an adult read. Disasters, whether man-made or "natural" are described in short, 2-3 page narratives, with science experiments to attempt added between some of the entries.

It reminded me somewhat of the old "Ripley's Believe It or Not" columns. A fun read. ( )
  fuzzi | May 23, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephanie Bearceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bolli, ElizaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Compton, LucyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Denbo, AllegraDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trevino, RaquelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The morning of August 24, 79 A.D. was sunny and warm.
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