Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story

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Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story
"The forest animals are surprised when a volcano suddenly explodes, covering the land in gritty, warm ash and rocks that make it unlivable for many plants and animals. Gopher survives in his underground burrow with food to eat. How does Gopher help bring life back to the mountain? Scientists spent years observing life returning to the mountain following the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980. This fictionalized story is based on their surprising observations of how life returns to an area that has been totally changed or destroyed.

This work of narrative nonfiction includes a 4-page For Creative Minds section in the back of the book and a 41-page cross-curricular Teaching Activity Guide online. Gopher to the Rescue! is vetted by experts and designed to encourage parental engagement. Its extensive back matter helps teachers with time-saving lesson ideas, provides extensions for science, math, and social studies units, and uses inquiry-based learning to help build critical thinking skills in young readers. The Spanish translation supports ELL and dual-language programs. The interactive ebook reads aloud in both English and Spanish with word highlighting and audio speed control to promote oral language skills, fluency, pronunciation, text engagement, and reading comprehension."

Written by Terry Catasús Jennings, Illustrated by Laurie OKeefe
32 pg, 10 x 8.5, Ages 4-9, Grades PK-4, Lexile: AD 740, AR: 3.7, F&P: M
Hardcover 9781607181316 $17.95  
Paperback 9781607181415 $11.95  
Spanish Paperback 9781628554175 $11.95  
EBook 9781607185574 Purchase Here
Spanish EBook 9781628551426 Purchase Here
Indonesian EBook 9781643513768 Purchase Here
Keywords:   natural disasters, changing habitats, earth systems, human activity, volcano, habitat recovery, earth science, life science, plate tectonics, map, sequencing
Animals in the book:   snowshoe hare, black bear, gopher, elk, squirrel, salamander, toad, spider, ant, beetle
Vetters:   Thanks to Peter Frenzen, Mount St. Helens Monument Scientist, US Forest Service; Frederick J. Swanson, Research Geologist with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station and co-editor of In the Blast Zone: Catastrophe and Renewal on Mount St. Helens and Ecological Responses to the 1980 Eruption of Mount St. Helens; and Liz Westby, Outreach Assistant and Carolyn Driedger, Hydrologist/ Outreach Coordinator at the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, for reviewing this book for accuracy.


The gopher's role in providing microhabitats and maintaining soil becomes clear in this personalized story that never misses the science. - NSTA Recommends

Portrayed in skillfully blended narrative and illustration the rumbling of the awakening volcano disturbs the routine of many forest creatures, culminating in the eruption that levels acres of trees and sends the nimble fleeing in an attempt to escape the heat and immense clouds of smothering ash. - Science Books & Films

Children will like this title for the story, and teachers will find the factual aspects valuable to instruction. - Library Media Connection

Author/Illustrator Info:

Terry Catasús Jennings has won several prestigious children's book awards, including NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book, NSTA Recommended, and Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year. In addition to Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos, Terry has written Magnetic Magic, Gopher to the Rescue, and Sounds of the Savanna with Arbordale. Her middle-grade book, The Women's Liberation Movement, 1960-1990 was listed in the ALA's Amelia Bloomer Project 2014-2015 List. Terry has been a contributor for the Smithsonian's Science Education Center books. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Long Island News Day, and Ranger Rick. Terry is an active member of The Children's Book Guild of Washington, DC and SCBWI. She and her husband live in northern Virginia and spend their winters in southern Utah. Visit her website at

Laurie O'Keefe's undergraduate degree in zoology and her graduate degree in human anatomy have helped with her scientific illustrations in the medical and scientific fields. Her client list reads like a "Who's Who" in scientific illustrations from text books and magazines to zoos and museums. Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story is her first picture book. Laurie lives and works from her home studio, located on Orcas Island, WA. To see more of Laurie's artwork visit


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