Two things I didn’t know about tsunamis prior to reading this new title (Darby Creek, 9/06) by Gail Langer Karwoski:

1. The Black Sunday tsunami of 2004 was so powerful that it made the earth spin faster.

2. The Seattle and Portland, Oregon, areas are at risk for these deadly waves.

Karwoski centers her book around a dramatic episode from 1946 Hawaii but goes much further into the past, present, and future of tsunamis and prediction/warning systems, with loads of engagingly presented science. John MacDonald’s illustrations are a treat as well, with the woodcut-style chapter openings giving the Hawaii disaster the feel of modern folklore. A lot of care went into the book’s overall design, too: The page numbers themselves are tossed about on tiny waves, a winningly whimsical touch that both underscores and somewhat tempers the overwhelming power of the subject.