Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Jess and her two friends want to investigate the legend of the Skeleton Lady who lives near St. Helens. They head up to the mountain, find the Skeleton Lady’s old house, and go inside to take a look around and take pictures. While investigating, a large earthquake rocks the house, and the teens narrowly escape before a tree lands on it. They safely return to town and meet Dr. Morales, a scientist studying volcanoes. During conversation with him, they learn that Mt. St. Helens is about to erupt. Jess, realizing she left her diseased father’s camera in the Skeleton Lady’s house, decides to retrieve it before the volcano erupts. She and her friends get stuck in the blast of the volcano and narrowly survive.
Lauren Tarshis uses enough detail to provide a vivid image for the reader, but does not leave the reader bored from over-saturation. This would be a great book to use to teach elementary students about making predictions, and even as a tool during a science lesson. The author includes enough background story to prevent the reader from getting lost, but could have included a bit more to help fill provide further information. This book gives accurate and interesting information to help the reader throughout the story, and after the story is a list of facts and events revolving around the actual eruption of Mt. St. Helens. This book is completely appropriate for everyone elementary-aged and above. This book is enjoyable and even though it is fiction, it provides insights into the devastating events of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens.