“Hurricane Havoc: The Tufts” by Tanya Ellen

“Hurricane Havoc: The Tufts” by Tanya Ellen 819 1024 Reader Views Kids

Hurricane Havoc: The Tufts   

Tanya Ellen
Thorpe-Bowker (2023)
ISBN: 978-0645797244
Reviewed by Diana Coyle for Reader Views (01/2024)

On Donut Island, there are something called The Tufts; fascinating creatures who live together and help each other whenever needed in the book, “Hurricane Havoc: The Tufts” by Tanya Ellen. This book is part of the author’s Disaster Survival Series for children. Aloe, Aura, and Thon are best friends and love to go on many adventures together. One night when Thon can’t sleep, he decides to star gaze. He notices a shooting star fly across the sky and start dropping glowing dust behind it. He reaches out and catches a little stardust on his arm. But when he awakens the next morning, the unthinkable happens. He is now invisible, and he isn’t sure why or even how to stop it.

Being invisible has its benefits though, because Thon gets to overhear a conversation between two Fizzle Wizzle teenagers, Shredder and Swifty, and they’re about to get themselves into some serious mischief. In order to join the prestigious Hurricane Brigade, they must have a competition to prove just how destructive they can be and they have decided they’ll blow down every hut on the beach that is home to all the Tufts. Thon must do something to stop Shredder and Swifty before any of the Tufts get hurt. What does Thon decide to do? Does he get the message to the Tufts in time before any of them get hurt?

I absolutely loved this story for a few reasons. First, I loved the creatures Ms. Ellen created, the Tufts, and she showed just how close a community can be when everyone cooperates to achieve common goals. I felt this teaches children that being a model citizen of their community is an important thing everyone should take seriously. Another lesson children can learn is how to stay calm by following the necessary steps they and their families must take in order to stay safe in a natural disaster such as a hurricane. Teaching children to keep their wits about them and to stay focused gives children more control over a scary situation.

There were a few things that really stood out to me while I read this amazing children’s disaster prep book, but one that really struck me was how creatively the author wove an extremely serious disaster situation into one in which, by empowering children with knowledge now, can reap many benefits in a future real-life situation. Giving them information in a non-threatening way, I feel, will give children the power to produce ten-fold results by all the survival pointers they learned with the Tufts in this story.

Ms. Ellen also introduced a character named Watcher, who provided tips at the end of the story to help children remain focused and calm if a hurricane were to ever occur in their area. Watcher gave a list of 15 “Words of Wisdom” for children to follow such as:

When there’s a strong wind seek shelter inside until it passes.

Don’t go outside until the hurricane passes as pieces of debris can fly through the air.

All the 15 suggestions provide children with a strong core of knowledge to help them get through a hurricane.

One piece of information the author provided was a letter she wrote at the end of the book that really hit home for me. It stated:

“Today children will experience three times as many natural disasters compared to how many their grandparents faced in their lifetime.”

I, as an adult reviewer, didn’t know this statistic, but after learning it, feel this Disaster Survival Series has been long overdue. It’s time to empower children with real knowledge in a fun and non-threatening way so they can be model citizens in their communities.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the Tufts and feel children will fall in love with these characters too, while learning a few things about hurricane preparedness. “Hurricane Havoc: The Tufts” provided an entertaining storyline by Tanya Ellen, along with fun and colorful illustrations by Margaux Dee that only enhanced the overall telling of this story. I highly recommend it. Well done, Ms. Ellen!       

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