Thanks to Fuse #8 for the recommendation. I was so fascinated by her description of the wax 'Girl From Oplontis' that I went searching for pictures of her online. I couldn't find any, so the Seattle Public Library once again came to my rescue.
It's a short, sweet account of the eruption of Vesuvius and the subsequent destruction of Pompeii. Apparently volcanic science has evolved a bit since I was a kid since I don't remember reading about superheated clouds of gas and stone roaring through town and immediately roasting everyone to 700 plus degrees Fahrenheit. THAT'S AWESOME!
I mean, tragic.
As an adult reader I very much wanted more gore than the kiddies can handle. The 'Girl From Oplontis' picture is pretty neat, but now I just really, really, want to see it in person.