________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 33. . . .April 26, 2013


Quake. (HIP Xtreme Novels).

Alex Kropp. Illustrated by Charlie Hnatiuk.
Toronto, ON: H.I.P. Books, 2012.
84 pp., pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 978-1-926847-23-8.

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review Daphne Hamilton-Nagorsen.

*** /4


Quake Teacher’s Guide.

Lori Jamison.
Toronto, ON: H.I.P. Books, 2012.
19 pp., stapled, $7.95. (Free when six or more copies of Quake are purchased at the same time.)
ISBN 978-1-926847-24-5.

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review Daphne Hamilton-Nagorsen.

*** /4



There was a noise like a jet engine, then a rumble, and then the land began to move. It's so weird. One second you're standing on solid ground; the next second and its all moving. You feel like you're moving or falling, but it's really the ground. Everything moves. You just try to keep your balance.

Or not. I was okay for a couple of second, then I went flying down. Or maybe the ground came flying up. I'm still not sure. I think the ground was moving for ten or twenty seconds. It felt like the ground was alive, like some kind of giant animal.


Cyrus and Evan know they live in an area with a high risk of earthquakes. Evan worries about earthquakes; Cyrus does not. When a major earthquake strikes their town, they will need all their knowledge and skills to save Cyrus' sister and mother, as well as themselves.

      Quake is a short but action-packed book for reluctant readers. As part of the “HIP Xtreme series,” Quake has an accompanying teacher's guide, which contains discussion points and activities.

      Alex Kropp keeps the plot of Quake simple. Fifteen-year-old Cyrus is the main character, with his 10-year-old sister, his mother, and his friend Evan filling out the majority of the cast. There are other characters – several teachers, the local bully, and the girl Cyrus has a crush on – but these characters only make brief appearances. Keeping the number of characters small, along with a lack of subplots, keeps the story moving and makes it easier for readers to focus on the story. Some more information about some of the characters would be nice, such as whether Evan's family survives the earthquake, but this information is not necessary to the story.

      Quake has some full-page illustrations which will help readers visualize the characters and the events. The illustrations are also used for one of the teacher's guide activities.

      In the teacher's guide, Quake is broken down into three sections, each with its own activities and discussion points. This will help teachers break up the text and will help keep readers focussed. The second part of the teacher's guide contains a half dozen activities that are more general to the entire book, rather than one specific chapter or section. The activities have been designed to capture the interest of the readers, such as one activity that asks readers to imagine what Evan would have tweeted throughout the events of the book (if his cell phone was working). The after-reading activities provide some suggestions for more in-depth projects. All the discussions and activities can be used with a variety of group sizes, from several students to an entire class, which will make the teacher's guide versatile.

      The teacher's guide and Quake both contain some good basic information about earthquakes and earthquake preparedness. It would be good if the teacher's guide had a couple of activities specifically about earthquakes and earthquake preparedness as this could connect Quake to the science curriculum as well as provide another way for reluctant readers to connect with the text. There are two earthquake focussed activities in the after-reading activities, which are a good beginning point.

      Reluctant readers will enjoy the action and pacing of Quake, and the accompanying teacher's guide will help teachers keep their students engaged and interested.


Daphne Hamilton-Nagorsen is a graduate of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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