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STE-E-E-E-EAMBOAT A-COMIN’! by Jill Esbaum


by Jill Esbaum & illustrated by Adam Rex

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: April 8th, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-37236-5
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Inspired by a passage from Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, Esbaum captures the bustle and commotion attending a steam packet’s arrival in a small river town: “Rubberneckers, / pounding boots, / whiskered geezers, big galoots. / Wheels a-clatter, / choking cloud, / yapping dog, excited crowd.” Focusing on animated faces and burly figures, Rex depicts the hubbub with Norman Rockwell-esque realism, adding the occasional inset close-up. With the title repeated in page-filling, 19th century–style display type for a chorus, this makes a rhythmic, emphatic evocation of a scene from days gone by, its visual volume akin to Judith Heide Gilliland’s exuberant Steamboat! The Story of Captain Blanche Leathers (2000), illus by Holly Meade, though its content is closer to William Anderson’s comparatively restrained River Boy (2003), illus by Dan Andreasen. (afterword, map) (Picture book. 7-9)