Green City: How One Community Survived a Tornado and Rebuilt for a Sustainable Future

illus. by Allan Drummond. 40p. notes. Farrar/Frances Foster Bks. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374379995.
RedReviewStarGr 1–5—On May 4, 2007, a treacherous tornado destroyed Greensburg, KS, "in nine-minutes flat." Eleven people died; the school, "hospital, nine churches, the water tower, the drugstore with its soda fountain, the grocery store, the two hotels, the three banks, the theater, and everything else—just gone." President George W. Bush declared Greensburg a national disaster area, and volunteers and donations arrived from all over. The inhabitants decided to rebuild: to make a tornado-proof town and to make it green. They designed models of homes with rounded walls, wood-paneled geodesic domes, and super-insulation. While many chose to relocate, the 800 residents who stayed are now proud to live in "America's Green City." The narrator, a boy in a red T-shirt, jeans, and a green baseball cap, tells the story in an engaging, accessible voice. Speech bubbles add drama and other townspeople's points of view; three denser sidebars provide more information. Drummond's ink-and-watercolor illustrations bustle with detail and activity. Some are full spreads, many are horizontal or vertical panels. An author's note explains that while Drummond was working on this book, a fire devastated his home, causing him and his family to suddenly face the same challenges as the denizens of Greensburg. Happily, they now live in "a house built for the future."
VERDICT An inspiring read-aloud for units on natural disasters or for Earth Day.

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