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Weitzman, author of Locomotive: Building an Eight-Wheeler (1999) and other celebrations of the glories of big, intricate machines, offers a new set of explicitly detailed, finely drawn portraits, cutaways, and schematics—all featuring an 1831 steam engine imported by business visionaries to carry passengers and freight along one leg of the journey between Philadelphia and New York City. Writing in present tense, he follows each major part of the device, from foundry to mill to final assembly—it arrived in America in pieces, with no instructions—and on to later enhancements, such as the cowcatcher and a cabin for the crew. As one of the first locomotives in this country, the John Bull became a model for later designs, and so well was it built, that only minor repairs were necessary before its curators at the Smithsonian Institution fired it up on the 150th anniversary of its arrival here. Budding machiniacs, as well as young students of the Industrial Revolution or railroading’s earliest days will echo the author’s delight at this astonishing tale of enterprise and ingenious engineering. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 9, 2004

ISBN: 0-374-38037-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2004

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The whimsy is slight—the story is not—and both its interest and its vocabulary are for the youngest members of this age...

Beverly Cleary has written all kinds of books (the most successful ones about the irrepressible Henry Huggins) but this is her first fantasy.

Actually it's plain clothes fantasy grounded in the everyday—except for the original conceit of a mouse who can talk and ride a motorcycle. A toy motorcycle, which belongs to Keith, a youngster, who comes to the hotel where Ralph lives with his family; Ralph and Keith become friends, Keith gives him a peanut butter sandwich, but finally Ralph loses the motorcycle—it goes out with the dirty linen. Both feel dreadfully; it was their favorite toy; but after Keith gets sick, and Ralph manages to find an aspirin for him in a nearby room, and the motorcycle is returned, it is left with Ralph....

The whimsy is slight—the story is not—and both its interest and its vocabulary are for the youngest members of this age group. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 1965

ISBN: 0380709244

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1965

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A pleasing new picture book looks at George Washington’s career through an agricultural lens. Sprinkling excerpts from his letters and diaries throughout to allow its subject to speak in his own voice, the narrative makes a convincing case for Washington’s place as the nation’s First Farmer. His innovations, in addition to applying the scientific method to compost, include a combination plow-tiller-harrow, the popularization of the mule and a two-level barn that put horses to work at threshing grain in any weather. Thomas integrates Washington’s military and political adventures into her account, making clear that it was his frustration as a farmer that caused him to join the revolutionary cause. Lane’s oil illustrations, while sometimes stiff, appropriately portray a man who was happiest when working the land. Backmatter includes a timeline, author’s notes on both Mount Vernon and Washington the slaveholder, resources for further exploration and a bibliography. (Picture book/biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59078-460-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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