In a rumbling volcano, Katie sees Pele, a Hawaiian goddess, while her skeptical grandmother sees only a geological phenomenon, in an exciting picture book that captures both interpretations by a Newbery Award-winning author and environmentalist.
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Grade 1-4-As Katie and her grandmother watch the Kilauea volcano erupt during their trip to Hawaii, Grandmother describes the eruption process as natural history. At every step of their discussion, Katie corrects her, interpreting the volcano in terms of the myth of Pele, the goddess of fire. Grandmother says, "The lava found weak spots on the ocean floor and burst free." Katie says, "Pele burst free." In the end, they agree that the natural history and myth tell the same story. Powers's illustrations, done in vivid tropical watercolors, capture the intense tones of the islands and their volcanic activity. George's descriptions may confuse young readers with no prior knowledge of such events and sophisticated vocabulary is not defined in context (e.g., geophysical, epilogue, prelude, eons). However, with a little preparation, teachers will find this an entertaining introduction not only to volcanoes, but also to the relationship between natural phenomena and the birth of myths. A unique offering.
Rosie Peasley, Empire Union School District, Modesto, CA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Science and myth square off in a confrontation on the slopes of Hawaii's Kilauea: as her grandmother delivers a lecture on lava, tidal waves, plate tectonics, and other "geophysical phenomena," young Katie counters by insisting that it's all the work of Pele, the goddess of fire, feuding with her aquatic sister Na Maka o Kaha'i. Powers alternates swirling, fiery glimpses of Pele, to whom he gives Katie's light skin and blue eyes, with quieter scenes of verdant kipukas (patches of vegetation between lava flows) and past violence, including a school bus half submerged in rock (next to the reassuring information that lava moves at only three feet an hour), schematic island-building sequences, and the bare plain around a recent small eruption within Kilauea's crater. Ultimately, the grandmother capitulates, recognizing that her story and Katie's are essentially the same. This rare comparison of world views not only contains a fair amount of scientific and cultural information but also could spark a search for similar parallels in nature. John Peters
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Book Description Hyperion, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110786822546
Book Description Hyperion. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0786822546 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0349406