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Earthquake at Dawn (Great Episodes) Hardcover – April, 1992

13 customer reviews

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Ultimate Weird but True 3: 1,000 Wild and Wacky Facts and Photos
Ultimate Weird but True 3: 1,000 Wild and Wacky Facts and Photos
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-- About to embark on a trip around the world, Edith and her maid are instead swept up in the disorder and turmoil generated by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The two young women find themselves stranded in the city, initially in search of Edith's father but ultimately trying to survive and help other displaced residents. Their harrowing adventures are captured on film by Edith, a character based on the real photographer Edith Irvine. Along the way, the girls connect with a variety of citizens, including (incredibly) Jack London, Enrico Caruso, and a drunken John Barrymore. While the photographic device is interesting, at times it threatens to control the story, and the language of the era sounds stilted. However, Gregory brings the emotions, chaos, and governmental coverups to life, and readers (especially those knowledgeable about the city) will keep reading to see how the girls and San Francisco fare. --Susan Knorr, Milwaukee Public Library, WI
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

En route to a photographic exhibit in Paris and a trip on around the world, Edith and Daisy (the narrator) arrive in San Francisco just before the great earthquake of 1906 and are separated from Edith's father in the ensuing confusion. While they search for him in the crowds and rubble during the next several days, Edith surreptitiously takes 60 photographs (an act forbidden by authorities hoping to conceal the extent of the damage). Unable to reach City Hall, where they had hoped to find him, the girls join others camping in Golden Gate Park, sharing the deprivations and horrors amid aftershocks, explosions, and fires, and eventually return home: their ship has sunk in the harbor. Three photos and a brief note in a 1990 National Geographic sparked the research that led to Gregory's third historical novel. Daisy (15) is fictional, but Edith is based on Edith Irvine, who did record the earthquake's devastation. Touching and exciting, this close-up has immediacy and an authentic voice that bring history vividly to life. A map would have been useful. Preface; afterword; bibliography; b&w photos not seen. (Fiction. 10-14) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Series: Great Episodes
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Childrens Books (J); 1st edition (April 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152004467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152004460
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #976,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Kristiana Gregory has published more than 30 children's books with Scholastic, Harcourt and Holiday House, and has now ventured into self-publishing with her memoir "Longhand: One Writer's Journey."

She grew up in Manhattan Beach, California, two blocks from the beach and she always loved to make up stories. Her first rejection letter at age eleven was for a poem she wrote in class when she was supposed to be doing a math assignment. She's had a myriad of odd jobs: telephone operator, lifeguard, camp counselor, reporter, book reviewer & columnist for the LA Times.

Kristiana and her husband live in Idaho with their golden retriever, Poppy. Their two adult sons visit often. In her spare time she loves to swim, hike, watch clouds, do yoga, read & hang out with friends. For all her titles, please visit her website: www.kristianagregory.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C.F. on January 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Kristiana Gregory really brings out Edith Irvine as a devoted photographer. Even in the midst of all the turmoil, she snaps 60 photos, possibly more! In this true-to-life novel, the famous San Francisco earthquake takes place, however, the quake is not the worst that happens! The fire that the quake created was. It lasted three days and killed an estimated five to ten thousand people. The mayor exploded dynamite to try to get rid of the fire, but the dynamite only created more. This novel also illustrates the annoying floor length dresses that the ladies of 1906 had to wear and the automobiles of Daisy's time. In some books earthquakes are made up just for entertainment. Not this one! This earthquake was real. The first shock was on April 18, 1906 and was recorded at 5:12:05 a.m. and it lasted for 45 seconds. There were 27 earthquakes that were actually recorded that day. Mary Exa Atkins Campbell told the earthquake's story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Emma Pearson on October 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Earthquake at Dawn is a great book. It is about Edith Irvine, a dedicated photographer, and her 15-year-old assistant Daisy. On their way to Europe, the earthquake hits and they have to stop in San Francisco, which is mostly destroyed and collapsing. After the quake, a great fire erupts and several of the city's houses and buildings they had not already fallen burn to the ground. The two are separated from Edith's father, who was traveling with them, and they become friends with a few other survivors. Meanwhile, the mayor is creating even more trouble. Men and women are threatened to being shot for using toilets or electricity, and dynamite, in an attempt to stop the fire, is being set off. But, Edith documents the trip with her photographs, even though that could mean death if she was caught by the mayor, who doesn't want the rest of the country to know the real disaster that is happening in San Francisco. In this incredibly realistic novel, Kristiana Gregory tells the exciting story, based on a letter written by survivor Mary Exa Atkin Campbell and the real photographs taken by Edith Irvine. I would highly recommend this book.
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By Sam on March 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Photographer Edith Irvine and her assistant, Fiftenth year old daisy Valentine, are en route to photography exhabit in Europe when their travels are abrupty canceled. From a boat in the harbor, Edith and Daisy watch in horror as the city begains to crumble. Separated from Edith's father who had escorted them to San Francisco, two young woman search the city in search for him, witnissing tearing up the city and homes. The city is burning in flames. Edith furtively document these images with her camera against the explisid orders of her mayor who does not want the world to know that the turis favorit attraction is know a disaster area. So if you want to find out whats going to happen you betteread this book?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was an excellent book. I choose to read it for my summer book reports that I have to do and most of the time I dread reading the books but not this. I also usually have no trouble putting books down but I couldn't put this one down. The book is about Edith and her assisant Daisy who are going to Europe but stop in San Francisco and they get stuck there because of an earthquake. They meet a lot of people and have some adventures while trying to find Edith's father
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By In the Bookcase on February 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
I like reading books about the San Francisco 1906 earthquake. This book was okay, but not very good in my opinion.

It had the makings of an interesting storyline: A photographer and her assistant are leaving to go on a worldwide trip. However, just as they are about to embark on their exciting adventure, the pair is stopped in their tracks by the infamous 1906 earthquake. So they are forced to remain in California and forget about their once-in-a-lifetime journey. These two young women must instead help pick up the broken pieces of the city and photograph the disaster through their eyes. They lend a hand any way they are able to, making new friends along the way... even meeting famous author, Jack London.

There were several points in the book that I thought should not be included--things that were slightly inappropriate. I couldn't recommend "Earthquake at Dawn" to my own friends. If venturing to read it, minimum age for this book, I'd say 14 & up.

If you are interested in reading a fictional account of this historic event, I would rather recommend for you to read Quake!: Disaster in San Francisco, 1906 by Gail Langer Karwoski.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T-L on October 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was exellent. Earthquake at dawn, while maintaining the readers interest through highly interesting events, is quite informative, giving information about the earthquake and a firsthand view of what it was like through the eyes of Daisy Valentine, Edith Irvine(a famous photographer)'s assistant. Daisy and Edith arrive in San Francisco hoping to catch a boat to Australia and travel around the world. Unfortunately, disaster strikes right before they dock, and the women find themselves in the middle of one of the biggest earthquakes in history. With the help of the McGregor and Somers families and their friend, Mary Exa, the women are forced to survive in the city by any means possible. Edith does her best to capture the ruins by photograph, but the mayor threatens to shoot anybody who dares to take pictures. An exciting, informative story, Earthquake at Dawn is the perfect book for anyone who wants to learn about the earthquake, or somebody who just wants something to read.
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