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The early reader Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis and illustrated by Joan Sandin (HarperCollins, 1983) is an “I Can Read” level 4 reading level. It tells the fictionalized but true story of a farmer in Mexico who discovered a volcano in his field in 1943.

In this fictionalized story, the farmer is given a restless personality, and he longs for something out of the ordinary to happen. It sure does when his plow falls into the ground: fire and smoke come from the ground as lava spews forth, creating a volcanic hill. After the volcano grows in his corn field over the course of a few days, the farmer can’t complain that nothing new ever happens!

It is based on the discovery and growth of the volcano Paricutin in Mexico. Because this book is older, it doesn’t have end matter that explains which things are true and which are fictionalized. I’m not sure then if I label it as nonfiction or fiction! The farmer truly lived, and the book discusses how he had to move after the volcano took over his field. But, in general, the dialogue and scenario in which the main characters operate is completely fictionalize. Nevertheless, early readers are sure to enjoy this adventurous volcano story.

Reviewed on September 25, 2023

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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