ORPHAN TRAIN by Verla Kay

ORPHAN TRAIN

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8

KIRKUS REVIEW

Preteen Lucy and her two younger brothers David and Harold are orphaned in a large Eastern city in the late-19th century and chosen to be riders on the orphan train. David, the elder of the brothers, leaves the train first. At a later stop, two different families select Harold and Lucy. Lucy adapts quickly to farm life and is overjoyed to see Harold at church on Sunday; they wonder if they’ll ever see David again. Kay’s singsong, cryptic verse is at odds with her subject matter. “Horses clip-clop, / Streets unclean. / Typhoid fever, / Quarantine!” Her words are as carefully chosen and evocative as ever, but they don’t fit the story. Presenting the death of parents and life on the streets in this manner feels like a trivialization of the subjects. The storytelling method better fits the tale once they reach the orphanage. Stark’s acrylic paintings are another matter entirely. He takes readers from the American version of Dickensian squalor to bucolic prairie bliss in the space of a few pages. These beautiful, impressionistic illustrations deserve a more appropriate text. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-399-23613-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2003




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