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The Great Chicago Fire, 1871

(I Survived #11)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  5,168 ratings  ·  440 reviews
Could an entire city really burn to the ground?

Oscar Starling never wanted to come to Chicago. But then Oscar finds himself not just in the heart of the big city, but in the middle of a terrible fire! No one knows exactly how it began, but one thing is clear: Chicago is like a giant powder keg about to explode.An army of firemen is trying to help, but this fire is a feroci
Paperback, 112 pages
Published February 24th 2015 by Scholastic Inc.
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Mariah Roze
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
My student loved this book. This series is great because kids learn about different times in history while enjoying a quick, easy read. I highly suggest this series!
This I survived series in one of the most popular series in my school library. The quick moving action and appealing characters make this series an ideal way to introduce children to historical fiction. Lauren Tarshis gets a great big thank you from me for starting this series.

For this book in particular I would say this is a nice addition to the series. Disasters have long fascinated me and I know I'm not the only one. Not because of the horrible things that happen, but because of the good thin
Narrator: 4 stars
Characters and writing: four stars

Random grab off Overdrive app from their "audiobooks under three hours" section:).

It felt like you were plunged into Chicago with Oscar and the fire. I was worried since it was such a short length it would be rushed but that turned out not to be the case.

I was on the edge of my seat at quite a few points, and on the verge of tears (happy and sad) more than once.

The ending I loved especially but was also sad to leave these people behind. Would
Hunter Soerens
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I Survived The Great Chicago Fire

Personal Response
I really enjoyed reading this book. I visited Chicago about a month ago and stood on the place where the fire was. It's built up now. I think of how horrible it would of been to be there on that tragic day. It's a very good book and really explains the whole thing in lots of detail.


It all started when Lucas's mom was asked by Mr. Morrow to marry him. After the wedding, she had to leave their farm in Minnesota and moved to Chicago. While o
Aidan Armas
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book.I like history and usually I like more war history,but I really wanted to read this book and liked it.I didn't know much about the Chicago Fire except that it happened.Since I love the I survived series and want to learn more about this event I gave it a try.It turned out to be a great book with one amazing turning point at the end.I love the deep description of how it was around him during the fire.Also, it wasn't about some rich kid getting out of the city and seeing it from ...more
Ethan Cass
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Their is a lot of thing packed inside this small book. I think that this book is for people interested in history of natural disasters or maybe you have someone in your family that survived the Great Chicago Fire!
Kim Hampton
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great way to teach kids about the Chicago Fire.
Apr 27, 2016 added it
Personal Response- I actually enjoyed I survived The Great Chicago Fire, 1871 by Lauren Tarshis. The story had a good story line and included a lot of action. Although I did get bored with the story a few times, I managed to stay interested and kept reading up until the end. I thought the beginning of the story was the best because the story got sad toward the end.

Plot- The main event of the story was the about a fire in Chicago. The fire was an event that actually happened. The main character,
Christian Torres
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oscar was a really good person
in this book the book was really good I am
going to read more i survive books
Linda Lipko
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Oscar lost his father, and it seems all to soon his mother is remarried and her new husband is whisking them off to live in Chicago. His families arrival coincides with the great fire of Chicago. Reportedly the fire began in a barn when a cow kicked a milk can. This book places Oscar lost from his family. Surrounded by fire and huge burning conflagrations, Oscar wonders if he will ever get out and live to tell the tale.
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was actually a good one and I loved it! And with a small little twist having to do with Oscar's story was pretty great too. One thing I'm loving about the other two I've now listened to are so interesting. One thing I'm loving about these and going to love is the fun little Author notes which I normally wouldn't read to be honest but I love how the author adds facts to these disasters/events and gives more insight to them. They seriously remind me so much about the original Magic Treehouse ...more
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Name: Jimmy Cunningham

Book Title: I Survived the Great Chicago Fire 1871

Personal Response: I like this book because it is different. I did not know about the fire until learned about it in school. I did not think the book would be good. I thought it was going to be a little kids book. It kinda was, but it was pretty good for being a little kids book. It actually was good, so I would say read it.

Plot: The main event in this book was about a fire in Chicago. This fire really happened a long time
Travis Jones
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I Survived: The Great Chicago Fire, 1871 by Lauren Tarshis is a magnificent story about this kid named Oscar from Minnesota in a place called Castle in 1871. He has to move to Chicago, then tons of tragedies happen. I really adore this book because of all the action that happens, and you never know how the part of the book will end. Sometimes you’ll think that Oscar had been finished, but then the story continues on and Oscar is still pretty fine. I love those kinds of books. I really like the a ...more
Enrique Zatarain
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I Survived: The Great Chicago Fire, is a historical-fiction book, by Lauren Tarshis. I like this book a lot because it gives a lot of information about the Chicago fire. I think that this book intrests a lot of people, because of the way the author wrote it. But this book gives you a feel of how a real person could have handled this. It also makes you think how you could have handled this, which I think makes the book a lot better. This book is also very thrilling, and leaves you wanting to read ...more
Sophia Hernandez
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing and crazy about a boy names Oscar and him and his family have to run away due to the crazy fires that have been happening lately. Fires in Chicago happen a lot. Imagine if you have gone through the same thing as him? I also feel bad for him because he looses his house due to the fire. Also during that time he had also lost his family! This happens often in Chicago because the sun and its heat waves cause this, it was so strong that not even fire fighters could stop it! I fee ...more
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oscar's dad past away leaving his wife and son with the responsibility of a farm. One day Oscar's mother meets a man who tells them to go to Chicago with him. Oscar finds himself in a great fire. His mother's boyfriend tells him tht Chicago has the best firefighters around, when Oscar see'd thoses fires he is not so sure.
I loved this book because I love this serie first of all and I Survived shows all the details which is very interesting. I would recommend this book from ages 8 to 12.
This is a book #11 included in the vast I Survived.. Series. A story of young boy who was reluctant to move to Chicago in 1871. Oscar wasn’t only facing the stress of moving to a new city and changing his life, he ended up in the middle of the Great Chicago Fire! Lauren Tasrhis is a great author and researches these events in depth to write relatable stories to young readers as they learn about historical events from a child’s point of view.
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read aloud to my class of 2nd graders. I was honestly very impressed by this book! We were all on the edge of our seats for a few parts. It reminded me of the American Girl series that I ate up as a child except aimed more towards boys. I would recommend to any elementary aged kiddo. My students, boys AND girls, are obsessed with the series now!
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is extremely interesting and I couldn't look away. This book highlights the details of what it was like to be in the Great Chicago Fire. The author uses so many great adjectives that really made me feel like I was experiencing it myself. Every chapter left me wondering what would happen next. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical books. ...more
Nishi Banker
Oct 02, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joseph Lemieux
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love the I survived series! They always are packed with great information on such an easy reading level. This book was about a boy, Oscar, not really wanting to come to Chicago but then when he gets there the great Chicago fire starts and it goes from there. Will he survive?
Jonathan Donihue
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of the things I like most about this series is the relationships between the characters. Ms Tarshis has a real back for creating interesting characters with engaging interpersonal relationships in a relatively short span of time.
Maddison Aiken
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a AMAZING Historical-Fiction series book. This is a great book to read because it teaches you about the "Great Chicago Fire". I recommend this book. ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this book because it gave facts in between the story. This book is also a very quick book since I have just finished it in 1 day.
Laurie DelaCruz
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very cute book about the Chicago fire that is age-appropriate, but yet doesn't sugarcoat events. ...more
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
My younger kids love these. A little fiction and a history lesson. (Today was Audio)
Amber Voigtlander
Personal response
The book The Great Chicago Fire, 1871 is good for children who want to learn about some history about the Great Chicago Fire. I enjoy all of the survival series books. I like that the action starts right at the beginning of the book and continues throughout the whole book. I think that it is interesting to learn about the fire and how everyone reacts.
Oscar moves from Minnesota to Chicago because his mom marries Mr. Morrow. When they get to Chicago, some thieves steal their
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, children
While tutoring a student, he told me this was his favorite series. "I've read every one," he said. We connected pretty well, so when he asked me to check them out, I did.

I can't believe I hadn't heard of them before, as I consider myself pretty up with YA lit - and there are currently 17 books in the series. Maybe it's because they're aimed at 2nd-4th graders, and I'm generally reading YA that's a bit older than that. (Although, what age is Greg Heffley aimed at? Love that kid...)

The student I w
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Back in my bookseller days, this series was a hot commodity. Years later it still is: NPR did a story about it this morning and how the books are "perfect reads for an anxious age."

Looking for something quick + high interest, I hit up my library and grabbed several of the ebooks, The Great Chicago Fire being the first of my reads. Very entertaining and fun (perhaps fun isn't the right word when dealing with disasters?). On to the next!
Dec 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Could've put more details in but ok ...more
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SCPL Teens: I Survived: The Great Chicago Fire, 1871 by Lauren Tarshia (Book 11) 1 1 Apr 25, 2021 06:37PM  
Amazing book!!! 1 1 Dec 19, 2020 11:23AM  

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Lauren Tarshis often wonders how she came to spend most of her waking moments thinking about disasters, as the author of the children's historical fiction series "I Survived." Each book takes readers into the heart of history's most thrilling and terrifying events, including the sinking of the Titanic, the Shark Attacks of 1916, Hurricane Katrina, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the San Francisco ear ...more

Other books in the series

I Survived (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 (I Survived, #1)
  • I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916 (I Survived, #2)
  • I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 (I Survived, #3)
  • I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 (I Survived, #4)
  • I Survived the San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 (I Survived, #5)
  • I Survived the Attacks of September 11th, 2001 (I Survived, #6)
  • I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 (I Survived, #7)
  • I Survived the Japanese Tsunami, 2011 (I Survived, #8)
  • I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 (I Survived, #9)
  • I Survived the Destruction of Pompeii, AD 79 (I Survived, #10)

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“The fire started inside a barn. It was tiny at first, a glowing dot, some wisps of white smoke. But then flames reached up. They grabbed hold of a pile of hay. Crackle! Pop! And then, Boom! Towers of flame shot up, higher, higher, punching through the roof, reaching for the sky. Voices screamed out. “Fire! Fire! Fire!” Alarm bells clanged. Firefighters readied their horses and raced their pumpers through the streets. But it was too late. The flames blasted a shower of fiery sparks into the windy sky. Like a swarm of flaming wasps, they flew through the air, starting fires wherever they landed. Shops and homes erupted in flames. Warehouses exploded. Mansions burned. Crowds of panicked people fled their houses and rushed through the streets and along the wooden sidewalks. They screamed and pushed and knocked one another down, desperate to get away from the choking smoke and broiling flames. But there was no escape. The winds blew harder. Flames shot hundreds of feet in the air, spreading across miles and miles. And in the middle of it all was eleven-year-old Oscar Starling. Oscar had never felt so terrified, not even two years ago, when a killer blizzard hit his family’s Minnesota farm. He was trapped inside a burning house, fighting for his life. He’d made it down the stairs, desperate to escape. And then, Crash! A ball of fire and cinders crashed through the window, and the house exploded in flames. And suddenly, Oscar was in the fire’s ferocious grip. The flames clawed at him, seared him, threw him to the ground. Smoke gushed up his nose and into his mouth. But the worst was the blistering heat, the feeling of being roasted alive. Was this the end? Oscar had never wanted to come to this city. And now he was sure he was going to die here.” 2 likes
“open prairie. For hours, Oscar had been” 0 likes
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