The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen

The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen

4.5 2
by Geraldine McCaughrean
     
 

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Ever since the magnificent Miss Loucien gave up teaching to join the Bright Lights Theater Company, school days have lacked a certain . . . drama . . . especially for Cissy, who longs for a life in show business, and Kookie, who craves adventure. But when a diphtheria outbreak interrupts the dull routine, Cissy and Kookie are evacuated to the doubtful safety

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Overview

Ever since the magnificent Miss Loucien gave up teaching to join the Bright Lights Theater Company, school days have lacked a certain . . . drama . . . especially for Cissy, who longs for a life in show business, and Kookie, who craves adventure. But when a diphtheria outbreak interrupts the dull routine, Cissy and Kookie are evacuated to the doubtful safety of the Bright Lights’ summer home—a shipwrecked paddle steamer on the flooded Missouri River.

Thus begins a wild and unpredictable journey downstream serving up grand performances, aggrieved river gamblers, irate lawmen, and perilous races. And when at long last Cissy steps into the limelight, the stakes are higher than she ever imagined.

Renowned storyteller Geraldine McCaughrean weaves a rip-roaring adventure in this funny tale that’s chock-full of humor and heart.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McCaughrean continues the story of Cissy and Kookie from Stop the Train! (2003) with this tall-tale adventure set at the end of the 19th century. A diphtheria outbreak has already claimed the lives of several children in Cissy's small Oklahoma town when a much-loved former teacher offers temporary shelter aboard the Sunshine Queen, a paddle steamer shipwrecked on the banks of the Missouri. This sounds ideal to Cissy, whose mother has just decreed an end to her schooling—it's time to work in the family's store. In the company of their stern current teacher, Cissy, Kookie, and the beautiful Tibbie join the Bright Lights Theater Company for one dramatic triumph (followed by narrow escape) after another. McCaughrean writes vividly—you believe Cissy's pain when the loop of her shop apron suddenly feels "like a hangman's noose"—and there is plenty of bawdy and slapstick comedy. The huge number of characters may make this a challenging read for those unfamiliar with the first book; the use of obscure (hoicked?) and invented (spackfacious?) words, plus frequent but mystifying biblical allusions, probably push this to an older audience. Ages 10�up. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 5�7—Cissy, 12, lives for the days when letters arrive from Miss Loucien, her free-spirited former teacher turned traveling actor. When diphtheria breaks out in her 1890s Oklahoma town and a freak accident destroys her house, Cissy's silver lining comes in the form of evacuation into the care of Miss Loucien and the Bright Lights Theater Company. An amnesiac captain, a pregnant leading lady, and an actor who speaks only in Shakespearean quotes are a few of the motley crew aboard the Sunshine Queen, the old steamboat that the troupe calls home. Spunky and lovable Cissy fits right in with the cast of characters and saves the day on more than one occasion when gamblers, swindlers, and overeager sheriffs cross their path. Life on the boat has an almost magical quality; despite regular catastrophes and brushes with death, everyone survives unscathed and ready for the next escapade. Colorful literary devices enliven the prose: "a great tidal wave of Boredom rolled in from the eastern horizon, then broke over the school roofs." The plot itself takes a while to gather steam, but once it does, it churns its way through adventure after rollicking adventure, with a culminating feat of derring-do that will leave readers cheering.—Emma Burkhart, Springside School, Philadelphia, PA
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Mark Twain and Sid Fleischman must surely be nodding their posthumous approval of so imaginative a cast and so preposterous and cunningly devised a plot—exactly the kind of story for which the term “rollicking” was coined.”
The Horn Book
“[T]horoughly entertaining. It’s McCaughrean’s way with language that establish[es] this picaresque tale as the latest evidence that she is one of the more remarkable novelists writing for children today.”
Booklist
“Pirates carouse, boilers explode, gamblers swindle, and Cissy and company meet each encounter with equal parts luck and pluck. McCaughrean invests her characters with humanity and shows a farcical sense for dialogue, while her arch narrative voice, with its theatrical vocabulary and clever turns of phrase, is a delight.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Mark Twain and Sid Fleischman must surely be nodding their posthumous approval of so imaginative a cast and so preposterous and cunningly devised a plot—exactly the kind of story for which the term "rollicking" was coined."
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“Mark Twain and Sid Fleischman must surely be nodding their posthumous approval of so imaginative a cast and so preposterous and cunningly devised a plot—exactly the kind of story for which the term “rollicking” was coined.”
Booklist (starred review)
“The whole is a more whimsical, French cousin to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (2008), with a similar sort of timelessly classic feel.”
Kirkus Reviews

A companion to the achingly effervescent prairie epicStop the Train!(2003). The adventure begins with a bored 12-year-old girl named Cissy Sissney in a small Oklahoma town in the 1890s. Cissy's boredom comes to an abrupt halt when a diphtheria outbreak forces her and her friends Tibbie and Kookie to flee town in the care of their current school teacher. They hope to take refuge with their beloved former teacher, Miss Loucien, who has become part of a touring theater group. The little band of travelers locates the troupe on a dilapidated paddle wheeler, and, little by little, they become trusted members of a dysfunctional family of actors and performers of every stripe. AsThe Sunshine Queensteams down the Missouri River, the crew tries to make a living by stopping at various towns to put on shows. Unfortunately, they find trouble much more often than money, and high jinks always ensue, leading to the troupe's attempt to rescue Miss Loucien's brother-in-law from being unjustly executed. The plot involves strategically placed rumors, a private train and a daring impersonation of Queen Victoria and her advisors.This one has a bit of a Huck Finn feel, and those readers who like their adventures with heavy doses of plot twists and tomfoolery will be smitten. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062008060
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/17/2011
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
950L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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