Saturday, September 3, 2011
Kid Konnection: A Storm Called Katrina
Every Saturday, Julie at Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm trying it out for the first time because I'm also reviewing a real, live children's book for the first time. What else can I do when Peachtree Publishers sends them to my house and they are so lovely and colorful? Anyhow, what I'm trying to say is - be gentle, world. ;-)
A Storm Called Katrina by Myron Uhlberg, illustrated by Colin Bootman
Louis Daniel is a 10-year-old boy growing up in New Orleans who dreams of one day being able to play his beloved cornet just like the great Louis Armstrong. When Hurricane Katrina hits, Louis and his family have to hurry to escape surging floodwaters leaving behind everything, but Louis manages to grab his horn as they’re going out the door. Little does he know how handy it will come in for his family as they head for shelter at the Superdome.
A Storm Called Katrina is a gentle introduction for younger readers to the catastrophic hurricane. Uhlberg gives the briefest of glimpses at the hardest topics – coming upon a “pile of clothes” that once was a person, spotting an abandoned pet floating on the flood waters, and the degenerating conditions at the Superdome. Colin Bootman’s illustrations do a fine job of depicting the family’s treacherous escape from the flood waters and the chaos and suffering that soon ensued within the Superdome shelter. If I have one objection, it is that the ending seems too pat, even for a very young audience. It gives the impression that, even after escaping their flooded street on a floating piece of porch, it was a simple thing to just head home after the storm. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it seems misleading to reduce the aftermath of Katrina into a brief, happy “We’re going home.” Other than this, A Storm Called Katrina is a beautifully illustrated glimpse into a terrible event with a courageous and clever hero to boot.