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Blizzard Hardcover – November 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1080L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; Later Printing edition (November 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590673092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590673099
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,000,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up-In the style of The Great Fire (Scholastic, 1995), Murphy writes a fascinating account of the March, 1888, storm that paralyzed the Northeastern U.S. for four days. This terrifying natural disaster is described from the perspectives of several individuals of various ages and social positions, primarily in New York City, some of whom survived the storm and some of whom did not. The narrative is a readable and seamless blend of history and adventure adapted from extensive first-person accounts and primary news sources. Beginning with an ominous harbinger, the scene is set with descriptions of what life was like at that time, including popular culture and means of forecasting the weather, which completely failed in this instance. The text is exciting without being melodramatic: as the storm arrives, strengthens, and stays, readers come to see the horrible extent to which people had to cope with the loss of food, heat, communications, and loved ones. Concluding by explaining why this event is important, the author places it in the context of other weather and its effect on history. Authentic photographs, drawings, and maps that demonstrate the course of the storm, all done in the same sepia tone as the text, perfectly illustrate the book. Overall, a superb piece of writing and history.
Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-9. On March 10, 1888, the weather on the eastern coast of the U.S. was so pleasant that families were picnicking. By Monday morning, however, a huge, destructive blizzard--actually two storms--stretched from Delaware north to Maine and as far west as the Mississippi River. New York City had 21 inches of drifting snow; Troy, New York, was blanketed under 55 inches. Supplies of fuel, food, and milk dwindled; power lines snapped; trains were trapped; nearly 200 ships were lost at sea; and an estimated 800 people died in New York City alone. No wonder some called the storm "The Great White Hurricane." Like Murphy's award-winning The Great Fire (1995), this is an example of stellar nonfiction. The haunting jacket illustration grabs attention, and the dramatic power of the splendid narrative, coupled with carefully selected anecdotes, newspaper accounts, and vintage and contemporary photos, will keep the pages turning. Murphy does a fine job describing the incredible storm, the reasons behind the tragic consequences, and the terrifying fates of victims. A splendid choice for booktalking; order several copies. Notes are appended. Jean Franklin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Karen Weber on December 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Acclaimed historian Murphy shows how a devastating 1888 blizzard not only shut down our northeastern states for days, but radically altered the way Americans live; its repercussions are being felt even today. He illustrates how political corruption, ineptitude, and contemporary social attitudes exacerbated the storm's fallout. Using carefully chosen excerpts from survivors' personal accounts, he also gives us a vivid feel for what life was like then for immigrants, women moving into the workplace, and others who had to struggle to survive everyday. He employs an interesting mix of graphics to further illustrate his story. Junior high school students who believe history is boring may think differently after reading this; it should also appeal to readers interested in natural disasters, and in social histories. Here's another winner from the author whose "The Great Fire" brought Chicago's infamous conflagration so brilliantly to life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Do you think non-fiction books can't be good? Well your wrong. Blizzard is a really good non-fiction book. It is about the blizzard of 1888. The storm caught most people by surprise because it was unusually warm on March 10, 1888. There was a storm system coming from the North and one coming from the South. The one in the North went along the Canadian border then started to swooped down. The one coming from the South went along the Gulf of Mexico,and then went South some then started to go North. People were in panic. They lost alot of people March 11, 1888. For example, people looking for the subway would get lost and not be able to be found. If they were found they had already died of freezing, being burried, or starving. Two little boys heading out to find their grandmas house got lost then were found not long after burried but still alive. And another example is two tugboats crashed into each other. Most of the people in that accident lived but some died. This is a good book for all age levels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Perry on July 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Jim Murphy has written a fascinating and captivating account of the storm that hit the northern east coast of the United States in March, 1888. At the end of one of the mildest winters in the East, two storms coming from different directions combined to create an unexpected storm, with high winds and freezing snow that devastated the northeast. The story focuses mostly on the effects of the storm in New York City, where all public transportation came to a standstill, and the storm virtually shut down the city. The snow was so deep and the winds so strong that the trains were actually buried in the snow, trapping the passengers inside. Most businesses were closed down because people could not get to their jobs. Those who did venture outside risked their lives in the freezing temperatures. The storm lasted for two days, and an estimated 800 people died in New York City alone.

This is a well-written, and interesting book. Authentic photographs are included, which enchance the narrative. Jim Murphy is an outstanding writer of Young Adult nonfiction. The events of the "great blizzard" come to life in this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Having seen references to the 'Great Blizzard of 1888,' I was intrigued enough to pick up Jim Murphy's 2000 hardcover on the subject. Although it's rated for younger readers, I found it was a comprehensive, entertaining summary of a long-ago 'perfect storm.'

Murphy details the development of the 1888 blizzard via a combination of two storms and the awe-inspiring impact it had on America - basically it shut down the East Coast! Cities and towns were buried under four feet of snow. Visibility was often zero; temps were below zero and made worse by the 40-60 mph winds. Trains were stuck in drifts; telegraph wires were down; etc. At least 400 people died.

Murphy follows different men, women and children in various East Coast locations and how they coped with the storm, which looped back and struck the East Coast a second time after its initial run-through! Some survived; some died; one lost his hands and feet to frostbite. Additionally, Murphy uses vintage photographs and his own evocative drawings to capture the storm's impact.

As fascinating as the story of the storm was, its impact, as documented by Murphy, was just as interesting. So many changes in weather reporting, laws, regulations, etc. resulted from this wake up call from Mother Nature, it's truly amazing.

So, whatever your age, I think you'll enjoy and learn from BLIZZARD! I know I did. Recommended.
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More About the Author

Jim Murphy began his career in children's books as an editor, but managed to escape to become a writer, entering a life of personal and creative happiness and enduring financial uncertainty. He's convinced that the latter keeps him coming back to his computer to write every day and feels that a sense of impending doom is the doorway to creativity. He has never counted the number of books he's published (feeling the time and energy is better spent doing research and writing) but guesses that he has over thirty books to his credit. Jim's work has been honored with numerous awards, including two American Llibrary Association Newbery Honor Book Awards, an ALA Robert F. Sibert Award and Sibert Honor Book Award, three National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Awards, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Award and a BG/HB Honor Book Award, two SCBWI Golden Kite Awards, and been a finalist for the National Book Award. Recently, he was given the ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award for "his significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature."

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