Philbrick, Rodman Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina Bluesky Press (Scholastic), 2014. $16.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG Violence: PG
Bad timing or bad luck is at play when Zane is sent down to New Orleans to visit a great-grandmother that he never knew he had –just in time for Hurricane Katrina. Thanks to his misbehaving dog, Zane is separated from his safe way out of town and ends up experiencing the storm and its aftermath to its fullest. Things get at once easier and more complicated when he meets an elderly man and a girl his age in a canoe as they try to find a way out of the flooded, hungry, and violent city.
This is big time page turner, with the plenty of chilling, interesting and fast paced events, while providing intelligent racial and social commentary. Survival books are quite popular right now and it’s a refreshing change from fantasy. The characters and setting are well crafted and I will be looking at other books by this author, I was that impressed. The cover has appeal and the story is just the right length to read aloud to 4-6 graders, though many will check it out on their own given the opportunity.
EL, MS -ESSENTIAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.