Boxcar Molly(Survivors Series): A Story from the Great Depression

Boxcar Molly(Survivors Series): A Story from the Great Depression

by James Riordan
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


It is the 1930s and the Great Depression has generated poverty that threatens to tear America apart. Fourteen-year-old Molly has nobody to rely on but herself. To survive, she needs to find work. Any kind of work will do. With millions unemployed, Molly decides that the only way to find work is to travel. Riding freight trains in search of a decent meal and a… See more details below

  • Checkmark Kids' Club Eligible  Shop Now

Overview


It is the 1930s and the Great Depression has generated poverty that threatens to tear America apart. Fourteen-year-old Molly has nobody to rely on but herself. To survive, she needs to find work. Any kind of work will do. With millions unemployed, Molly decides that the only way to find work is to travel. Riding freight trains in search of a decent meal and a place to live, Molly sees the misery of the Depression firsthand. Survivors is a brand-new and dramatic collection of short novels for young readers, each book about a young person caught up in a real-life conflict or disaster that boys and girls will recognize from their history books. The stories are fiction, but through each young hero's eyes, the boys and girls who read these tales will gain a deeper understanding of the day-to-day hardships and dangers encountered by people living and surviving through troubled times. Each book has a brief introduction relating actual historical events, and at the end of each book, young readers will find a brief historical note that places the story in a larger context plus a glossary of terms specific to the time and place. Boys and girls will also find a list of suggested further reading. Line illustrations capture the atmosphere of each story. Titles in this series are available in both paperback and hardcover editions. This is a hardcover book. (Ages 10-13)

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
One of six inaugural titles in the Survivors series being released this month, this disappointing novel centers on Tennessee-born Molly, who recounts her three years (1929-1932) riding the rails as she searched for work during the Depression. The framing of the tale is rather hokey: after "Aunt Molly" (with "tears rolling down her wrinkled face") sings "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" to her niece and nephew, she tells them about the time when, at age 14 in 1929, she went to work in a knitwear factory to help support her family. After seven months on the job, Molly impulsively ("Goodness knows what came over me," she says) hops a truck bound for Kentucky, where she finds no work available, then launches a journey as a self-described "tramp," crossing the country on freight trains. There she meets others, including Beanpole, an African-American two years her senior who becomes her closest friend (and later, her husband); Woody Guthrie, Upton Sinclair and Douglas MacArthur, among others, make cameo appearances in this rather choppy chronicle. Despite some dramatic and trenchant moments-including Molly's descriptions of living conditions in a migrant workers' camp in California and a Manhattan Hooverville-too often her chronicle reads as an impersonal, dry travelogue. Ages 10-13. (Nov.) FYI: The other five debut titles in the series, being simultaneously published in paper-over-board and paperback editions, are: The Water Puppets: A Story from the War in Vietnam by Clive Gifford; The Star Houses: A Story from the Holocaust and Only a Matter of Time: A Story from Kosovo, both by Stewart Ross; The Enemy: A Story from World War II by James Riordan; and Broken Lives: A Victorian Mine Disaster by Neil Tonge. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-On impulse and without a word, 14-year-old Molly leaves her financially devastated family to strike out on her own. During her travels she befriends "Beanpole," a kindhearted young black man who saves her from tumbling off the top of a moving train. Together they encounter disappointment, hopelessness, and poverty from one end of the country to the other. Riordan describes many of their hardships with relative candor but whitewashes others. At one point, Molly endures the indignity of "wolf whistles and crude gestures" from a gang of unemployed factory workers, and Beanpole gets mixed up in a fistfight, but in general the pair emerge from their cross-country travels pretty much unscathed. Riordan peppers his tale with convenient cameo appearances by celebrity guests like Woody Guthrie and Sinclair Lewis. Lengthy blocks of text are occasionally interrupted by crude, generic line drawings that contribute little to the presentation. The book as a whole reads more like a contrived adventure story about camaraderie and pluck during hard times than a believable novel set in the midst of a horrible global catastrophe.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780764155291
Publisher:
Barron's Educational Series, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/08/2002
Series:
Barron's Survivors Series
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
5.14(w) x 9.04(h) x 0.48(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >