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SERGIO AND THE HURRICANE by Alexandra Wallner

SERGIO AND THE HURRICANE

By Alexandra Wallner

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8050-6203-3
Publisher: Henry Holt

When Sergio of San Juan, Puerto Rico, hears a storm is coming, he hopes it will be a hurricane. This appealing picture book demonstrates that even this wildest of storms can make warm family memories as it combines useful information while presenting a charming story. The artist keeps the gouache illustrations upbeat with clean, white spaces, delicate lines, and cheerful reds and yellows used in almost every painting. The storm is dramatic and stylized with washing green waves frosted with foam, and driving rain shown as diagonal blue lines hatching the entire picture. The author ably captures the voice of Sergio, a child too young to remember the devastation of a past hurricane, who views the coming storm as an exciting adventure. He trails after the grown-ups as they tape up windows, purchase emergency supplies, and cut the coconuts off the palm trees. Later, when rain drums on the roof, waves as tall as hills slam into the seawall across the street, and the hurricane gets wilder, Sergio gets scared and crawls into bed with Mom and Dad, and they tell stories of storms past. When the storm is over, the sun shines and the sea is calm, but there is a lot of damage to clean up: smashed furniture, uprooted trees, flooded streets, downed power lines, and clogged drainage pipes. The family works together without complaint to set things right. They are even cheerful about taking a shower in the rain to conserve water. The whole family is shown, tastefully concealed by palm fronds, singing and shampooing in the rain. This upbeat story about a loving Puerto Rican family will strike a reassuring chord. (author’s notes on hurricanes) (Picture book. 5-8)