All bookseller links are provided so you can get more information about a book. We have affiliate relationships with Barefoot Books,, and Tapestry Books. All revenue generated from sales through these venues is used strictly to cover website costs and minimize donation requests and fundraising campaigns.

"Because too many students are not learning the skills they need to succeed in college or work while they are in high ... More

      Printer Friendly

Click cover to buy:


Author: Fran Cannon Slayton

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Philomel, a Division of Penguin Young Readers Group,

Material: hard cover

Summary: The railroad is all Jimmy Cannon has ever known. There is nothing like the rumble and the whistle of a train as it rolls through Rowlesburg. It is all he wants to know. He wants to be a railroad man just like all the other men in his family, including his grandfather, dad, brothers, and uncles. Jimmy's dad will have none of it. He says steam engines are dying. Each year, as Jimmy celebrates his dad's birthday, he keeps us up to date on his life, and those trains, too. This is an historical fiction novel set in a West Virginia railroad town in the 1940s.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader

Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 4.9

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a fascinating story. Several months before I read it, I saw Fran Slayton's book trailer for When the Whistle Blows. In the trailer, Fran reads from the book, and it is that voice that brings Jimmy to life in the book. This is an incredibly well told story that has a timeless quality to it.

Pros: With a book whose chapters all open on Halloween, a few creepy moments, and plenty of action, kids will be wrapped up in this story from cover to cover.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a wonderful story that will be handed around the family and then to friends. It is an excellent choice for a youth book club.

If You Liked This Book, Try: RIDDLE IN THE MOUNTAIN   GHOST MEDICINE   WAR KIDS 1941-1945; WW II Through the Eyes of Children

Educational Themes: The author gives us lots to explore in this book. Although relationships and family dynamics are the easiest to spot; there are details about rural living; life in the 1940s; trains, transportation, and progress; traditions and culture; and growing up.

Notes: This book is from a personal library.

Literary Categories: Fiction - family, historical fiction, 1940s, War, trains, middle grade, young adult

Date(s) Reviewed: August 2009

Other Reviews:


Copyright © 2003 - 2018. The Reading Tub, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The Reading Tub and Turning a Page ... Opening the World are registered trademarks of The Reading Tub Inc.
No use of these trademarks is permitted without written approval of The Reading Tub, Inc.
Privacy Policy.     Site developed by Sites2BeSeen.