Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for The volcano disaster
The volcano disaster

Publication Information:
New York : Pocket Books, ©1998.
Physical Description:
136 pages ; 22 cm
Number in series:
General Note:
"A minstrel book."
When an "Instant Commuter" transports him to Mount Saint Helens during its eruption, twelve-year-old Warren cannot get himself back to his own home in his own time.
Reading Level:
Lexile: 770.


Call Number
J Kehret, P.

On Order



When an Instant Commuter transports him to Mount Saint Helens during its eruption, twelve-year-old Warren cannot get himself back to his own home in his own time.

Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-7-This is the first book in a planned series of "natural disaster" stories. Warren Spalding is sent to live with his grandmother after his father dies in an accident and his mother returns to college. There he discovers his grandfather's invention, an Instant Commuter. Accidentally, the boy is transported back in time to the slopes of Mt. St. Helens just minutes before its eruption in 1980. His new friend Betsy follows him in an effort to save him and both experience the whirlwind of ash that makes it difficult to breathe as well as move, the sharp earthquakes, and the frightening lightning. The fact that the two friends are working on a school report about the mountain allows the author to bring in other facts about volcanoes. Some readers will find this approach too didactic. There's no character development; Warren and Betsy are wooden figures as are the other people they briefly encounter in the present world and in the past. However, students interested in volcanoes may be drawn to the detailed descriptions of what it would have been like to be in the midst of this eruption.-Edith Ching, St. Albans School, Mt. St. Alban, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-6. In the latest entry in the Frightmares series, twelve-year-old Warren is assigned to write a 20-page paper on volcanoes with Betsy, "a walking trivia quiz." Warren keeps putting her off to work on the Instant Commuter, a transport device he discovered in his grandfather's effects. When Betsy walks in on an experiment, Warren is suddenly transported, not just through space, but back in time to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, while the time machine remains in the present. Warren must warn everyone of the danger, save his own life, and hope that he can manage to get home. Meanwhile, Betsy figures out his dilemma and how to bring him back alive. Touching on some interesting problems in time travel, this fast-paced novel combines elements of fantasy with a disaster story. Although the plot relies on coincidence for its happy ending, readers probably won't mind. A bibliography of nonfiction titles on volcanoes is appended. Carolyn Phelan