The Great Fire

The Great Fire

by Jim Murphy

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An account of the Great Chicago Fire combines archival photographs and drawings with personal accounts by its survivors and historical documents.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781338113532
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 08/30/2016
Sold by: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 529,236
File size: 174 MB
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Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Jim Murphy is the celebrated author of more than thirty-five books for young readers, most notably TRUCE: THE DAY THE SOLDIERS STOPPED FIGHTING and THE GREAT FIRE, a Newbery Honor Winner. His carefully researched, engaging, and elegantly written nonfiction has garnered the most prestigious awards in the field. He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, with his wife and their two sons.

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Great Fire 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One dark night when we were all in bedOld lady Leary lit a lantern in the shedAnd when the cow kicked it over, she winked her eye and saidThere'll be a hot time in the old town tonight.Before I read this book, that sums up about all I ¿knew¿ about the 1871 fire that destroyed most of Chicago. I found out that the little I knew was wrong. The fire did start on the O'Leary's property, but a reporter added the bit about the cow and the lantern to add some color to his story.Murphy pieces together eyewitness accounts to tell the story of the fire, beginning with the initial alarm raised when someone noticed the flames in the O'Leary's barn. He describes several things that went wrong in the process of reporting and responding to the fire. He tells about the chaos during the fire, as people fled to what they thought was a safe place, only to have the flames catch up to them and force them to flee again. Families became separated in the crowds, and it must have been terrifying for them, not knowing if their loved ones were safe or if they would ever be able to find them again. Murphy also describes the rebuilding that took place following the fire, and the problem faced by the poorer residents of the city, who couldn't afford fire-proof building material like brick and granite.The book is targeted for middle grade readers, but it's written in a way that readers of any age can enjoy. It would be a good choice for readers looking for a brief, non-scholarly account of Chicago's Great Fire.
sweetiegherkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Great Fire is an excellent piece of juvenile nonfiction, providing a detailed account of the beginning, spread, and aftermath of the 1871 fire in Chicago, Illinois. The author intersperses facts clearly based on extensive research with quotes from eyewitnesses. In this way, the reader gets both the overview of the event as well as the experience of looking at snippets of the days¿ events through the eyes of survivors. Murphy manages to capture the emotions of the day and describes them in such a way that the reader feels them, too. Written in simple, clear language, this book is easily accessible to young readers, but it is a fascinating account that will be of interest to adult readers as well. The many illustrations, particularly the maps showing the spread of the fire at the end of each chapter, are an additional bonus that helps shed light on this piece of history.
cmesa1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The great fire occured in 1871 in Chicago. It began one Sunday evening whena small fire broke out inside the O'learys' barn. People ignored the danger signals. However is hard not to pay attention and ignored the signs when the enitre city is basically built of wood. This was a devasting experience for people how they were seeing how everyhting they had built was just consumed by the flames. however even a time of deepest despair, the human spirit triumphed, as the people of chicago found the courage to build their city once again .
awiltenburg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A serious and true story about the Great Chicago fire. The story line was dry and factual but the sketches and pictures kept things interesting and gave me enough umph to continue reading. The historical facts about the way fires were fought was interesting and almost laughable. The way the entire disaster was handled was terrible, life altering, end of the world type terrifying. There were personal stories woven into the factual narration that helped to humanize the disaster and helped the reader to understand just how awful the experience was. It also illustrated the news reporting ethics of the day and illustrated how rumors can be taken for truth and the negative consequences of rumors. I think I could use this book for older students only because of the magnitude of the event. I may be able to teach a themed history of firefighting unit with the historical data, or maybe city planning, disaster response, newspaper writing & news reporting ethics.
nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This children's nonfiction account of the great fire that devastated Chicago is a wonderful resource for kids and adults. The retelling focuses on the adventures of four different people involved in different ways with the catastrophe, branching out to give more factual information where appropriate. This structure helps to keep the account personalized, and more interesting, while still imparting all the relevant detail. Side by side with the well-written content are the photographs and illustrations, all of high quality, that really bring to life the events described. I liked this book, which taught me more about a subject I knew only cursorily, and was in a small and easy dose, considering that nonfiction is not an area in which I read extensively.
lovingkelsea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great book to use in a history class. This books is more interesting to read than the average history book. Its a great source of historical fiction. It gives detail accounts of the massive fire that destroyed the city of Chicago during the 1800's.
bnhays on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book gives personal accounts to the chicago fire. It explains many mistakes and the overall chaos of the situations. This has been a great informational book with maps to outline the damage as the fire spread. This would be a good book for children just because all of the pictures, maps, and the personal account of the 12 year old that they can relate to.
katieginn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Traumas that unfold across the 24 hours of a burning fire. A very interesting information book children can learn a lot from. THe diversity and multitude of persoal accounts in presented in both text and facts from public view.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well-researched, but rather dry. I listened to the audio recording of this title and it was fine, but not especially captivating.
szierdt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Chicago in 1871 was a city ready to burn" through the chaos of this event and from the perpective of a few personal accounts, Murphy includes details of why, what and how this major historical disaster came to be. Also present are the class and race issues that existed in Urban areas. Great resource for lessons on materials that we choose for our built environments, emergency preparedness, history of firefighting, social issues surrounding class and race and journalism. In regards to journalism, this book lends to encouraging children to be critical thinkers and aware of sensationalized or manipulated media. For this reason, this book would be useful for a study on newspapers/media and how to critically read articles or present information in a truthful, reliable way.
smpenni on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting non-fiction book about the great Chicago fire. For students in IL this might be of particular interest since it is Illinois history. The book reads well and includes maps, timelines, etc.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CRC3301 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. It has great information about the past, not just of Chicago, but it also tells us how people lived back then. It is filled with the accounts of real people from this terrible disaster, but the story is told like a narrative so you really get into it. One thing that was really interesting and that I did not know was that Chicago was a city ready to burn at any moment. This disaster, even though it was terrible, may have been the momentum people needed back then to change their ways on how cities were built. I think that kids will really gain a better understanding of how the world used to be after reading this book. They will see how even though people were struck down that they still rose back up to rebuild themselves again. It's a truly inspiring story, and I recommend that you read this book. CRC3301
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
The Chicago, IL, fire of 1871 was one of the most colossal disasters in American history. Overnight, the flourishing city was transformed into a smoldering wasteland. The damage was so profound that few people believed the city could ever rise again. Author Jim Murphy not only gives a carefully researched history of Chicago and the disaster but also weaves personal accounts of actual survivors, constructing a riveting narrative that recreates the event with drama and immediacy. The maps and illustrations really help to show the immense devastation. The book was very interesting to read and difficult to put down. There are only two discordant notes. In chapter three, when conveying several individuals descriptions of the fire, the author quotes one newspaper editor as saying, "The dogs of hell were upon the housetops," and a visitor to the city as repeating the words of someone else who said, "It must be a d--- big fire." The use of the word "hell" in describing such a huge fire might be understandable, but using the other word in a book that is specifically identified as "juvenile literature" is to me inexcusable, even if only found once. Also in the last chapter on "Myth and Reality," as he reacts to the tendency of many people of the day to blame the "poor, ignorant, lower classes" entirely for the fire, he seems to fall into the opposite extreme of "condemn the wealthy and defend the poverty-stricken at any cost." Otherwise, this book takes an important historical event and rather than giving it a dry, dusty treatment makes it seem quite real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Great Fire is a great book! This book gives different accounts of the great Chicago fire of 1871. This book has illustrations as well as actual pictures of Chicago before and after the fire. I enjoyed the way the book begins and gives great details of what the first witness to the fire saw. 'The building was already burning fiercely and he knew that in addition to five cows, the O'Learys had a calf and a horse in there.' It also gives some explanations as to why the fire was so devastating. I would recommend this book for children 5th grade and up. Murphy, Jim. The Great Fire. New York: Scholastic, 1995.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book from the front to the back! It was ine if the best short story type book I've ever seen. I read it for ny 7th grade English class for a project. I just want to say that Jim Murphy is one of the best author ever! Go Jim!
Guest More than 1 year ago
wonderful book...i loved it cover to cover...i was however disturbed by a past review on this book where a man said he wanted the book to have his children...grow up randall...and stop mothin' this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book that was both easy to read and understand. Mr. Murphy made it easy to understand and the accounts from real people made it also very enjoyable to read. This book is great for kids.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a great one which was informative about one of the most horific diasters in history. The stories from real people made it fascinating to read and the charts from the story that tracked the fire made it easy to see how bad the fire got. It is not written in a way that insults children and tests reading skills well. It was a truly enjoyable book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was interesting and informative and helped take me back to the time of the fire and understand what it was like. I loved it. In fact, I want the book to have my children. I want nothing but that book all day every night for the rest of my life.