DEATH OF THE IRON HORSE by Paul Goble
Kirkus Star

DEATH OF THE IRON HORSE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Goble's unmistakable graphic style--white outlines around blocks of color, pattern and silhouette and gracious white spaces--has never been used to better advantage. The successful derailment of a freight train by Cheyenne Indians is the unusual subject for this picture book, which achieves a surprising array of effects, some the more powerful for their sensitive understatement. A shaman had prophesied an influx of hairy people from the East. When white men arrived (the US Army, coming to drive Indians onto reservations), the Indians put up the kind of fight beleaguered people can be expected to make. The story's conflict is centered on an attempt to stop the steam-powered train, the Iron Horse, stories of which had terrorized children and adults alike. In a stunning drawing done from an overhead perspective, the freight cars are shown splayed every which way, with a man's body, bristling with arrows, fallen at the side. The celebration of the Indian braves, trailing behind them bolts of printed fabric they have' taken from the slaughtered Iron Horse, is a visual and emotional delight. The Indians were bound to lose this battle; the final drawing, which shows an Amtrak train racing across a landscape littered with soda bottles and cans, laced overhead with power lines and crossed by the ominous shadows of military jets, gives reason to consider the true right and wrong of the conflict. Once again, Goble distinguishes himself as a sensitive and honest storyteller and historian, and as an artist of enduring merit.
Pub Date: March 1st, 1987
ISBN: 0689716869
Page count: 36pp
Publisher: Bradbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1987




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