An account of the “Schoolchildren’s Blizzard” of 1888, with explanations of how blizzards form and are forecast.
Though Zoehfeld mentions blizzards elsewhere, she focuses on the Midwest, where, she writes, they are “among the worst in the world.” Her description of the January 1888 storm certainly supports the claim (even though she doesn’t go into death tolls or particular tragedies). She follows up with explanations of how warm and cold fronts clash, what happens to the water vapor carried in air masses as temperatures change, how meteorologists predict storms (and what exactly defines a “blizzard”—it involves wind speed, duration, and visibility conditions), and finally safety precautions to take until it’s time to go play in the snow. All very reassuring. She also gives readers a taste of specific technical terms such as “condensation” and “deposition” and offers instructions for keeping a weather log and one other simple activity. Along with maps and diagrams, Frost provides simply drawn scenes of a semirural cluster of log cabins, populated by white families in the 19th century but giving way in occasional anachronistically placed illustrations and on later pages to a similar but more inclusive neighborhood with at least one interracial couple.
A solid contribution to the venerable series, offering an unusual mix of history and science. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-9)