Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Chernobyl’s Wild Kingdom: Life in the Dead Zone

On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in what is now Chernobyl, Ukraine, overheated and exploded, causing vast amounts of radioactive fallout to spread across a large area. The pressurized steam in the reactors blew the lid off of the reactor, releasing many, many times more radioactive material than the nuclear bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Almost everyone within 19 miles within the incident was evacuated, which is more than 350 thousand people. 31 people died instantly because of the radiation, and thousands of others died as a result of cancer and radiation sicknesses caused by the radiation. It is thought that a worker made a mistake when doing a safety test, which caused the Chernobyl disaster to occur. Years and years later, the area remains abandoned. Scientists and journalists occasionally visit Chernobyl, but other than that, almost no one lives there. It is classified as a 7 out of 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, and in terms of casualties and cost repairs, it is the worst nuclear catastrophe in history. Only one other nuclear disaster has been classified as a 7 out of 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, which happened recently in 2011. Although no one can permanently live within 19 miles of the incident, the dead zone is teeming with life. Many species, including foxes, horses, wild boars, moose, and stray dogs, have adapted to the extremely radioactive environment, and scientists are trying to figure out how they managed to do this.

I thought that this book was very good. It did not have too many pictures like a picture book for little kids, but it had enough photographs to make it more amusing and fun to read. The stunning pictures and interesting facts will certainly attract the attention of animal lovers and people that enjoy all sorts of nonfiction books. I loved the beautiful, high quality images in the book of the animals thriving in the dead zone. I also liked how the book was very scientific. It had a glossary, an index, and a bibliography. It was also separated into chapters, which was kind of unique for a nonfiction book. What I did not like about the book was how it was kind of short. It was only 64 pages long. If there was one thing that I would change about this book, I would make it a bit lengthier. I would certainly recommend this book to teenagers that enjoying reading and watching the news.

The thing that I remembered the most about this book was how it had amazing images of the creatures that thrive in the dead zone. I almost spent more time looking at the images than I did actually reading the words of the book!


Reviewed by James, grade 7, Gayton Branch Library

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