July 2010 Indie Next List
“Bring back the trains! Eleven-year-old Oscar falls into an old Lionel electric train set and finds himself actually aboard the Blue Comet train on his way to Chicago! Transferring there to the Golden State Limited, he is on his way to California to find his father, who has gone
there to find work. With both humor and suspense, Wells has crafted a fast-paced tale of courage during a time when dreams were about the only things most people owned. A heck of a ride!”
— Sue Carita, The Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH
Trains and time travel spur one boy's thrilling adventure as he seeks to rejoin his father in a new classic from Rosemary Wells and Bagram Ibatoulline.
One day in a house at the end of Lucifer Street, on the Mississippi River side of Cairo, Illinois, eleven-year-old Oscar Ogilvie's life is changed forever. The Crash of 1929 has rippled across the country, and Oscar's dad must sell their home with all their cherished model trains and head west in search of work. Forced to move in with his humorless aunt, Carmen and his teasing cousin, Willa Sue, Oscar is lonely and miserable until he meets a mysterious drifter and witnesses a crime so stunning it catapults Oscar on an incredible train journey from coast to coast, from one decade to another. Filled with suspense and peppered with witty encounters with Hollywood stars and other bigwigs of history, this captivating novel by Rosemary Wells, gorgeously illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, resonates with warmth, humor, and the true magic of a timeless adventure.
About the Author
Rosemary Wells has written or illustrated more than 120 books for children and has received numerous awards. She is the creator of the beloved Max and Ruby stories; the co-author (with Secundino Fernandez) of MY HAVANA: MEMORIES OF A CUBAN BOYHOOD, illustrated by Peter Ferguson; the author of LINCOLN AND HIS BOYS, illustrated by P.J. Lynch; and the illustrator of MY VERY FIRST MOTHER GOOSE, edited by Iona Opie. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Bagram Ibatoulline has illustrated many acclaimed books for children, including THUMBELINA, retold by Brian Alderson; THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE and GREAT JOY, both by Kate DiCamillo; THE ANIMAL HEDGE by Paul Fleischman; Hans Christian Andersen s THE TINDERBOX and THE NIGHTENGALE, both retold by Stephen Mitchell; THE SERPENT CAME TO GLOUCESTER by M. T. Anderson; and HANA IN THE TIME OF THE TULIPS by Deborah Noyes. He lives in Pennsylvania."
Ibatoulline's full-color, atmospheric Norman Rockwell-like vignettes enhance the nostalgic feel of this warm, cleverly crafter adventure.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)