Edith Kunhardt has written over 65 children's books and has illustrated sixteen. Much of her work has built on Dorthy Kunhardt's (her mother) blueprint with sequels such as Pat the Cat and Pat the Puppy. Her other works include I'm Going to Be a Police Officer, Pompeii-Buried Alive!, and Honest Abe.
The drama and fascination of natural disasters provide prime material to entice young independent readers, particularly those who prefer stories based on true incidents. In this volume of the Step into Reading series, the account of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius describes village life 2000 years ago, including the activities of ``the family who lived in one of the biggest houses. . . . The father began to dress. His slave helped him.'' From this noncommittal narration readers glean many facets of an ancient lifestyle, reinforced by deft pastel illustrations. Meanwhile, tension mounts; we know ``something terrible is going to happen.'' The eruption and its aftermath are vividly described, as is the excitement when the buried town is rediscovered centuries later. A lively and factual glimpse of a devastating moment in history, in an accessible, attractive package. Ages 6-8. (October)