By Lauren Tarshis

Illustrated by: Scott Dawson

Copyright Date: 2011

Published by: Scholastic Inc.

Lexile Reading Level:

Grade Recommendations: 4th or 5th Grade

Common Core State Standards:

Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.

Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

Suggested Delivery: Aloud or Independent

Key Vocabulary:

  • canal: an artificial waterway for navigation, irrigation, etc.
  • hurricane: a violent, tropical, cyclonic storm of the watern North Atlantic, having wind speeds of or in excess or 72 miles per hour
  • evacuation: the act or process of evacuating, or the condition of being evacuated; discharge or expulsion, as of contents
  • strangling: to kill by squeezing the throat in order to compress the windpipe and prevent the intake of air, as with the hands or a tightly drawn cord
  • shipwrecked: the destruction or loss of a ship, as by sinking
  • whimpering: to cry with low, plaintive, broken sounds
  • mildew: any of similar coatings or discolorations, caused by fungi, as that which appears on fabrics, paper, leather, etc.
  • levee: an embankment designed to prevent the flooding of a rive

Reading Strategies:

  • Before:  The teacher should read the first chapter of the book to model the excitement and anticipation of the story.
  • During: Students should take note of the important information in the story.  This can include:
    • Characters
    • Setting
    • Plot
    • Problem(s)
  • After: Use the SPAWN model to give students a chance to reflect on the book.
    • Special Powers: If you were the main character in the story, what special powers do you think would be helpful? Why?
    • Problem Solving: What are some problem solving strategies that you could give Barry to help him through his problem?
    • Alternative Viewpoints: Pick one of the other characters in the story.  Write a few sentences from their viewpoint. How does this effect the story or the situation?
    • What if: Ask a “What if…” question that is related to the story. Provide a few sentences to answer it.
    • Next: If you were to continue the story, what would happen to Barry and his family next?

Writing Activity Suggestion: If this book was made into a movie, pick a song that would be on the soundtrack.  The song must connect to the story. Explain the connection the song has.

Electronic Resources:

  • Facts about Hurricane Katrina – This is a great website to show students.  It can be used for a follow up project about Hurricane Katrina.
  • How Do Hurricanes Form? – Use this video to teach students about how hurricanes form.  The video was published by National Geographic.
  • Scholastic –  If you would like to order the book or find out more information about it follow the link.

Similar Books:

  • The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912
  • The Shark Attacks of 1916

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