Earth-Shattering Events: Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Cyclones, Tsunamis and Other Natural Disasters

Robin Jacobs (Author) Sophie Williams (Illustrator)


'Dynamic illustrations paired with illuminating text will entice even a reluctant reader to revel in this selection; an excellent addition to any nonfiction library'. -- SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL STARRED REVIEW

'An eye-opening, and -widening, early introduction to our restless planet'. -- KIRKUS REVIEW

An atlas of the most extreme meteorological and geological disasters that nature has to offer!

We humans take our domination of the planet for granted, but sometimes nature reminds us that this is an illusion. Tectonics rip open the earth, vast waves sweep away coastal towns, magma spews from volcanoes and hurricanes lay waste to entire countries.

This book explores nature at its most destructive. Clear, coherent explanations break down the science behind phenomena includ- ing hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes, alongside fascinating facts about the biggest and the worst. Informative, accessible illustrations by Sophie Williams make this so much more than your standard geography book.

Product Details

$19.95  $18.35
Cicada Books
Publish Date
April 07, 2020
9.2 X 11.6 X 0.6 inches | 0.02 pounds

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About the Author

Robin Jacobs is a freelance journalist and copywriter living and working in London. She is the author of Passport (Cicada, 2016) and You Are Here (Cicada 2016)
Sophie Williams is a recent illustration graduate based in Cornwall. Her engaging, informative illustrations are reminiscent of Axel Schleffer in their warmth and humour.


SLJ STARRED REVIEW: This informational book explores natural disasters with colorful and eye-catching illustrations. Each section of Jacobs's text explains a specific environmental phenomenon. Beyond basic facts about each disaster, there are details about the worst events recorded. Safety tips are also included. The text is formatted to ensure accessibility across grade and interest levels. The scientific content is serious but does not feel overwhelming or cumbersome. Williams's style, reminiscent of graphic novels, adds visual flair to the topic. The vibrant images will hold the attention of readers. VERDICT: Dynamic illustrations paired with illuminating text will entice even a reluctant reader to revel in this selection; an excellent addition to any nonfiction library.
KIRKUS REVIEW: Loosely grouped as "Geological" and "Meteorological" disasters, the tally of reminders begins with an overview of plate tectonics, then goes on to explain in short segments of narrative, first, how earthquakes are caused (with a side note on the role of fracking) and measured, then what to do if caught in one, common effects, and finally a map with notes on five particularly destructive recent examples. Each succeeding entry is constructed along similar lines. The author asserts in a final chapter that climate change will spur larger and more widespread natural disasters--including even earthquakes and volcanoes--and that we are facing "the biggest environmental challenge we have ever seen." Williams makes a brave effort to lighten the impact of this worrisome message with brightly colored cartoon views of stylized, impersonal eruptions or wreckage and by interspersing her simple cutaways and diagrams with mildly comical cartoon images of various relevant gods from many traditions or modern (almost all white-presenting) figures cast in the role of observers, commentators, or responders rather than victims. Young readers will nonetheless be left as concerned as they are informed by this catalog of catastrophes. An eye-opening, and -widening, early introduction to our restless planet.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW: Why does the Earth shudder and shake? What makes a cyclone swirl and a wildfire leap uphill? Jacobs answers these questions and more in this engaging compendium. Divided into geological and meteorological categories, a dedicated section defines each phenomenon, covering its whys, hows, and results; measurement and evaluation techniques; and survival advice (in an avalanche: "swim backstroke uphill as hard as you can"). Each section concludes with a full-spread world map pinpointing and describing "the Biggest and the Worst." Williams's off-kilter, doodle-inflected illustrations adroitly depict a colorful array of maps, diagrams, and images ranging from a fracking rig to volcano innards. The introduction's warning--"every so often, the planet reminds us who's boss"--rings out again at the conclusion, which explains how climate change could amplify each of these terrible and fascinating natural events.
The AOI REVIEW: Robin Jacobs and Sophie Williams have taken naturally occurring disasters from around the world and broken them down to the how, where and why, making them understandable and engaging even for those initially left lukewarm by the topic. Those children who start reading are going to find themselves engrossed in the fault-patterns in tectonic plates, all laid out by Williams' deliberately naïve and colourful illustrations that make each and every page larger-than-life. Drawn in a style designed to be understandable to children and adults alike, the diagrams and cartoons are clear and accessible, illustrating everything from Caribbean gods to the formation of supercell storms. Most importantly of all Williams' use of fun as a tool for learning makes this a valuable way of teaching by stealth. Williams' diagrams make scientific cross-sections much more comprehensible for young geographers.If the idea of giving a child a book on disasters feels in some way wrong, it's also filled with some very useful information, written with humour by Jacobs. Reinforcing information early and often is an excellent way of ensuring people know what to do in an emergency, and Earth Shattering Events! has examples of what to do in each section. Earth Shattering Events! is one of those books that perfectly balances both the needs of the child, and the wants of the adult; it's fun, educational and equally entertaining to people big and small. As our world changes around us, understanding the events out of our control happening around us is increasingly important, and yet still overlooked.
READING ZONE (SCHOOL ZONE) REVIEW: The pages have clear, cartoon-like diagrams that illustrate the content in a non-threatening way. Some of the content is quite heavy, but this book is a very matter of fact and informative. Each page is eye-catching and laid out so that it's easy to read. I'd suggest that these books are read with an adult initially, to answer any questions or worries that children may have due to the subject of this book. For use in schools, it is a great example of a non-fiction piece of text and is a great support for elements of Key Stage 2 Geography and History.
THE LITERACY TREE REVIEW: This brilliant book around natural phenomena - sometimes causing natural disasters on mass-scale is fascinating and slightly sobering in equal measures: the geography and physics of tsunamis, volcanoes, blizzards, earthquakes and a whole plethora of other ways that mother nature will, from time-to-time, show who's boss are all covered. This is such a brilliantly written and illustrated book that we feel fits so well within our year 3 Literary Curriculum theme of Pride and Downfall that we've turned it into a Literary Leaf which will be available to subscribing schools in early January.
BOOKS FOR TOPICS REVIEW: We often get asked about books to support the 'Awesome Earth' or 'Natural Disasters' topics for KS2 and we think we may have just found the perfect one. Each event is explained in a way that is easy to understand for junior children without compromising on presenting the underlying scientific facts. A real strength of the book is how highly visual it is, with appealing diagrams, large illustrations, maps and charts contributing greatly to the reader's understanding of each topic. This is a wonderful book with a high level of appeal and certainly one to recommend for KS2 classrooms as a topic book or a really interesting read for pleasure.
BOOKTRUST REVIEW: *Book of the Day* Each section of the book describes a different phenomenon, gives the different types - for instance, there are two different types of avalanche, with wet and dry snow - and looks at examples of the biggest and worst ones recorded. It then gives tips for safety and survival. A lot of the time, it's not easy to be prepared for something like a tsunami, which comes out of nowhere and is hard to predict, but it is at least good to know what one could do in that situation. Featuring clear information about a comprehensive range of events such as tsunamis, avalanches, earthquakes and volcanoes (grouped under geological disasters), and tornadoes, blizzards, wildfires and tropical cyclones (meteorological disasters), this colourful and fascinating guide is a real eye-opener.
NORTH SOMERSET TEACHERS' BOOK AWARD REVIEW: With appealing, colourful cartoon-style illustrations, 'Earth Shattering Events' is an amazing read, full of fascinating facts, which also reminds the reader of how we take our planet for granted.
READ IT DADDY: Is anything but a light touch, providing fascinating insights into areas of science that aren't often covered in such exquisite detail in natural history books. Authoritatively written with fantastic colourful and engaging illustrations, it's a brilliant book for home or school projects.
A LITTLE BUT A LOT REVIEW: This book would be PERFECT for any kind of natural disasters topic in Upper Key Stage 2. It's SUCH a spot on book. The explanations are scientific enough to educate, but clear enough to not baffle kids. I loved looking through all of the different pages. This might be one of my favourite books I've received lately because I learned SO MUCH. This is perfect for a geographer in your life! It's not only informative but it is BRILLIANTLY illustrated by Sophie Williams: the illustrations add so much to it! Just spot on!
GET KIDS INTO BOOKS REVIEW: Earth Shattering Events is illustrated throughout in full-colour. I really liked the clear, uncluttered layout. There's also a really nice split between text and illustration so the book isn't dauntingly text-heavy. The explanations are easy to understand and there's lots of really interesting information. There are bite-sized facts and statistics if you just want to dip in and out of the book or more detailed paragraphs if you want to understand the science. A feature of each chapter that my son and I particularly enjoyed reading was the advice in the 'What to do in a ...' section. We also liked looking at the maps which show which countries in the world are most affected by each type of disaster. Earth Shattering Events expertly conveys the sheer power and destructive force of nature. It's an eye-opening book and reminds us of our fragility. Rating:
PICTURE BOOKS BLOGGER: A striking reminder of the enormity of nature. An eye-opening read & on which explores the science behind earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires & much more.
MY SHELVES ARE FULL REVIEW: Natural disasters do in fact remind us that we are merely guests on the planet. There are disastrous events which can tear our world apart and this book explains them in an interesting way. Each type of disaster is looked at closely, we can see the effects and then the biggest and the worst in history. Maps detailing locations of biggest and the worst of each disaster feature throughout the book. I love maps and spent a lot of time comparing between disasters, learning more about how they are measured and I was keen to know about what to do in case of.... each disaster. The world is finally starting to take notice of the damage our planet has sustained, and as humans we need to ensure we are doing all we can to protect the planet from future harm. Inside this book is a message of respecting our planet and caring for the most vulnerable parts of it. This is an incredibly well thought out book. Many children are fascinated by intense weather and storms. This will appeal to future scientists, meteorologists or anyone interested in disastrous events. High five to Cicada Books for publishing these brilliant books!