Cyclone! The Regina Tornado of 1912

10 October 2012

Cyclone! The Regina Tornado of 1912
by Warren James and Carly Reimer
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Michelle Shaw
$14.95 ISBN 9 781894 431712

One hundred years after the legendary tornado of 1912 left the city of Regina devastated, tornadoes are once again touching down in Saskatchewan. So it’s not surprising that I was a little reluctant to pick up Regina author Warren James’s latest book!

Warren James is a storyteller with a passion for history and folklore. Cyclone! The Regina Tornado of 1912 is a carefully researched picture book with an old silent movie feel. It’s simply written and filled with vivid details which give a sense of the magnitude and devastation of the tornado. Children will especially appreciate the numerous detailed images which his words conjure up, such as the fact that the switchboard at the Telephone Exchange literally fell into the basement with the operators still in their chairs. He also relates how the tornado sucked up tons of water, a canoe and two boys from Wascana Lake.

Although the book is obviously aimed at young children, its appeal is far broader. At the back of the book are four pages of detailed notes which older children and adult readers will find fascinating. James notes the debate at the time as to whether the event was a tornado or a cyclone and gives detailed historical references and added information to the facts related throughout the book. There is also a page featuring the names of the twenty-eight people who died as a result of the tornado.

Carly Reimer’s illustrations beautifully complement James’ chronological story and reveal details that are often elaborated on in the notes at the back of the book. There’s a sense of continuity in the pictures as one figure, a young boy in a blue shirt, is pictured on almost every page, living through and experiencing the devastation caused by the tornado.

Cyclone! is Warren James second book and Carly Reimer’s first.


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