Reviews for Storm Called Katrina


Booklist Reviews 2011 September #1
*Starred Review* A boy blowing a horn on a flooded street is the evocative cover image of this stirring book, which tells one family's story of Hurricane Katrina. Ten-year-old Louis Daniel listens to the howling wind. His parents think the storm will blow over--until it doesn't, and then they have to escape their home. Grabbing his most important possession, his cornet, Louis and his mother ride the high water on a detached porch pushed by Louis' father. Along the way, Louis spies a little terrier floating on a plank. They can't take the dog along, but Louis doesn't forget him as make their way through the flood, finally arriving at the Superdome, where they're told they'll be safe. Once inside, though, they disappear into an inky, stinky arena, where men fight over water bottles. Daddy leaves to look for food and then can't find his way back to his family, but Louis plays his coronet, and the music leads his father to him. In a simple yet powerful ending, the storm has passed, and while others board buses to get out of town, this family stays. The juxtaposition of the understated text and muscular artwork works well. Blues, grays, and browns predominate Bootman's acrylic paintings, which use heavy brushwork to evoke both the force and emotional impact of the storm. A memorable addition to the growing number of books about Hurricane Katrina, this offering personalizes a national tragedy. Information about the storm is appended. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Ten-year-old Louis Daniel remembers to grab his brass cornet when his family flees after Hurricane Katrina. In the overcrowded Superdome, Daddy gets separated from the group; Louis plays his horn midfield, and the family is reunited before the book's hopeful ending. The text is stiff, but it uses some powerful imagery; somber oils (and an appended author's note) help convey the storm's devastation. Reading list, websites. Bib.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 July #2

A heartrending story of a New Orleans family's experience through Hurricane Katrina.

Ten-year-old Louis Daniel goes to sleep hugging his brass cornet close as the winds of Hurricane Katrina begin to howl and rattle the house. In the morning, the family realizes that the levee has broken, and the water is quickly rising. They begin to make their way through the wreckage to the promised safety of the Superdome, with Louis Daniel and his mother riding on a piece of someone's porch as his father pulls them along past a plastic Christmas tree, an eager puppy that they cannot rescue and something that is probably a body in the water. The family makes it to the Superdome, but they eventually find themselves separated. Louis Daniel is sure he has to do something to find his father, but what? And what will happen to the family after they leave the Superdome? And to the friendly dog Louis had to leave behind in the rushing waters? Bootman's gorgeous paintings bring out the resilient character of the city even as he depicts the devastation it suffered. However, it is through the body language and the emotion in the faces of the mostly African-American cast of characters he creates that Bootman most precisely articulates what it was like to live through such a harrowing experience.

Simple, affecting prose and intricate, inspired paintings make this one worth sharing for sure. (author's note). (Picture book. 9-12) 

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 June #3

The pair behind Dad, Jackie, and Me turn their attention to the harrowing events of Hurricane Katrina as seen through the eyes of a fictional child. Ten-year-old Louis Daniel is African-American and a horn player like his idol, Louis Armstrong. He goes to bed during a fierce storm and awakens to encroaching water. Bootman's dramatic oil paintings and the boy's first-person narration provide realistic immediacy as the boy's family makes its way through their flooded neighborhood on "a piece of someone's porch that was floating by." Uhlberg hints at the death toll: "y broom hit a pile of clothes. Mama covered my eyes. ‘Don't look, Baby,' she said. But I couldn't help looking." The dark-hued, realistic illustrations create a somber mood that refuses to lift even when the family finally reaches the Superdome. The boy's shiny cornet, saved from floodwaters, figures prominently in the family's experience at the chaotic stadium, giving comfort and continuity. Readers are in for a deeply personal and sometimes uncomfortable look at a disaster whose ramifications are still being felt. The book concludes with author notes and several photographs. Ages 7-11. (Aug.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 September

Gr 2-4--This remarkable homage to New Orleans tells of Louis Daniel, named for Armstrong, who leaves his flooded home with his parents and his cornet. While awaiting rescue in the Superdome, the 10-year-old is the hero of his own story; he blows his beloved horn to locate his father, who is lost in the crowd. Bootman's powerful oil paintings and Uhlberg's narrative depict the journey, and readers will follow the family calmly wading through flooded streets, perching atop a porch-cum-raft, uncomfortable at the Superdome, and fearful when the crowd becomes restive. For those who know the story, the book brings back unsettling memories. The oil-on-board paintings of shimmering water and unfocused crowds capture contradictions; both harsh reality and otherworldliness; both the enormity and the intimacy of the event, somehow managing to leave out the horror. Uhlberg's prose does the same; Louis paddles by a bunch of clothes, and his mama says "Don't look, Baby." Louis looks, and so do readers, but there is nothing to see. In the end, when an abandoned pup goes home with Louis and his family, youngsters won't be able to imagine the danger still present for them, or conceive of the mess left behind. For them, this is a happy ending. Adults reading with them will know that it is only the beginning. Somehow though, we trust that, for this family, things will come out all right. The back matter provides information and a bibliography along with some photographs that inspired this excellent collaboration.--Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC

[Page 131]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 July

Gr 3-5--Louis Daniel, a 10-year-old African American boy named for famed New Orleans musician, Louis Daniel Armstrong, always keeps his cornet close at hand. When Hurricane Katrina strikes in 2005 and the levees break, Louis Daniel's father finds a floating piece of porch to ride upon. Keeping an eye out for 'gators, Louis paddles with a broom and the family moves through murky brown water and floating debris. Everything from a fake Christmas tree to a disturbing "pile of clothes" and a black and white dog float by. They take shelter in the airless, stinking, crowded, and chaotic Superdome. When his mom and he are separated from his father, Louis saves the day with his cornet. Narrator Brandon Gill gets the voice just right as the young boy's panic and frustration escalate in Myron Uhlberg's realistic fictionalized account (Peachtree, 2011) of a city overwhelmed by water and chaos. An author's note following the story provides the horrific statistics of the third most dangerous storm in U.S. history. Have the book available so students can peruse Colin Bootman's realistic oil paintings. Sure to provoke thoughtful discussions, this audiobook can also be used during weather units.--Lonna Pierce, MacArthur Elementary School, Binghamton, NY

[Page 47]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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