With the Chicago fire raging around him, Nate is desperate to get back to his aunt's boarding house, but somehow he's become responsible for the safety of Julie, also separated from her family.
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Grade 4-7-Each of the young characters in this action-based series experiences a natural disaster that requires courage and decisiveness. In Fire, readers are eyewitness to the devastating Chicago fire of 1871 through the perspectives of Nate Cooper, an orphan who lives with his aunt and helps out at her boardinghouse, and Julie Flynn, daughter of a wealthy merchant. Their paths cross as each child becomes caught up in the drama. The plot moves quickly describing both the heroic and evil events that arise from such a tragedy. Julie is portrayed as privileged, pampered, and unable to take care of herself without her father or Nate to help her. Her character and the pejorative use of a "Negro" character are disappointing, even given the historical context. The last hours of the Titanic are seen through the eyes of Gavin Reilly, who is working his way from Ireland to America as galley help aboard the ocean liner, and Karolina Green, who is returning to America with her aunt and mourning the death of her parents in England. Details that show the enormity of the ship and the elaborate lifestyle of its first-class passengers are woven throughout the story. The fast-paced plot and innocent friendship between the young characters will interest fans of the movie. It is important to note that this story has a much happier ending.
Joan Zaleski, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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