TRAINS

A celebration more than a complete chronicle, this beautifully illustrated volume offers a personal and affectionate look at the place of the railroad in history. Beginning with the impact of trains on his home town of High Point, N.C., Curlee looks backward to the invention of the locomotive in England, describes the constant improvements made by various engineers and weighs the impact of the increasing use of trains to transport freight and people across the countryside. He notes in particular that railroads supported the expansion of the United States and the fulfillment of our “manifest destiny.” His overview, couched in sophisticated language, doesn’t confine itself to the past; refreshingly, the author proposes a viable future for this transformative transportation technology. Stylized paintings in mostly muted colors offer varying perspectives, from a man and child dwarfed by a huge, sleek engine to the mercifully abstract depiction of a fiery calamity. Labeled diagrams supplement the text and provide additional information. Sure to fascinate existing enthusiasts, this elegant survey will likely also create some new fans. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 15, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-4848-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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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...

THE MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE

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 deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph.

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WISHTREE

Generations of human and animal families grow and change, seen from the point of view of the red oak Wishing Tree that shelters them all.

Most trees are introverts at heart. So says Red, who is over 200 years old and should know. Not to mention that they have complicated relationships with humans. But this tree also has perspective on its animal friends and people who live within its purview—not just witnessing, but ultimately telling the tales of young people coming to this country alone or with family. An Irish woman named Maeve is the first, and a young 10-year-old Muslim girl named Samar is the most recent. Red becomes the repository for generations of wishes; this includes both observing Samar’s longing wish and sporting the hurtful word that another young person carves into their bark as a protest to Samar’s family’s presence. (Red is monoecious, they explain, with both male and female flowers.) Newbery medalist Applegate succeeds at interweaving an immigrant story with an animated natural world and having it all make sense. As Red observes, animals compete for resources just as humans do, and nature is not always pretty or fair or kind. This swiftly moving yet contemplative read is great for early middle grade, reluctant or tentative readers, or precocious younger students.

A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-04322-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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