On the Blue Comet

On the Blue Comet

4.7 21
by Rosemary Wells
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Model trains, time travel, and cameo appearances by Ronald Reagan and Alfred Hitchcock, among others, make this adventure an ideal family read-aloud. "One day everything in the world was fine. Dad and I had lamb chops and ice cream," says Oscar Ogilvie, 11, about life with his widowed father in 1929 smalltown Illinois. Self-reliant and companionable, Oscar makes dinner so he and his father, a tractor salesman, can spend their evenings constructing elaborate railroad layouts. Then the Great Depression hits, and the Ogilvies lose their house and, worse, their trains, which are put on display in the bank lobby. Oscar's kindness to a laid-off math teacher turns serendipitous when the teacher becomes the bank's night watchman, giving Oscar access to his trains. During one after-hours visit, the bank is robbed; Oscar escapes by diving into the model train set, where he crisscrosses time and the continent, unscrambling what's happened to him. Well-drawn secondary characters and evocative details bring the hardscrabble 1930s to life. Ibatoulline's intricately detailed illustrations, both full-page and double-spread, have a Norman Rockwell quality that reinforces the setting and adds a nostalgic air. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Eleven-year-old Oscar and his father share a love for model trains and they set up an elaborate layout in their basement. After the Crash of 1929, Oscar's dad loses the house and the trains to the bank. The boy is sent to live with his aunt while his father goes to look for work in California. One day, while Oscar is visiting his trains which have been set up in the bank's Christmas display, he jumps into the train setup to avoid armed bank robbers and is catapulted through time and across the country. On the journey he meets famous people from the future and past as he searches for a way back to his own time and home. Malcolm Hillgartner reads Rosemary Wells's interesting and heartwarming story (Candlewick, 2010) in a pleasant, fatherly tone, giving each character a unique voice. However, it's disappointing that he doesn't consistently change Oscar's voice when time travel causes him to grow older or younger. Hillgartner attempts some celebrity impressions of the Hollywood stars and famous people mentioned in the book, but they will be lost on anyone under the age of 40. This audiobook does not reach the level of another time travel novel, Edward Bloor's London Calling (Knopf, 2006; Listening Library, 2006).—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews

Time travel hurts. Eleven-year-old Oscar Ogilvie, Jr., first discovers this when he--dodging bullets in an armed robbery--belly-dives into a model train layout at the First National Bank of Cairo, Ill., on Christmas Eve 1931 and, miraculously, finds himself aboard a real train headed for California with the dashing future president "Dutch." Next stop: Oscar is a strapping 21-year-old in danger of being the first fifth grader drafted into the U.S. Army! Oscar's top-notch at any age, and his close relationship with his father (a fellow model-train fanatic) is the heart of this buoyant, mostly Depression-era romp. Abundant historical and literary allusions--and a cast of real-life characters from Joan Crawford to Alfred Hitchcock--enrich the story (though they may be lost on some). Even when the novel teeters on didacticism's edge, readers will be disarmed by Oscar's compassionate nature, amused by his colorful, well-sketched friends and captivated by his "Triumphs and Disasters" (from Kipling's poem "If," affectionately referenced). Ibatouilline's full-color, atmospheric Norman Rockwell–like vignettes enhance the nostalgic feel of this warm, cleverly crafted adventure. (Historical fiction/time travel. 11 & up)

From the Publisher
Ibatoulline's full-color, atmospheric Norman Rockwell-like vignettes enhance the nostalgic feel of this warm, cleverly crafter adventure.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763637224
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
09/28/2010
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
930,802
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile:
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Ibatoulline's full-color, atmospheric Norman Rockwell-like vignettes enhance the nostalgic feel of this warm, cleverly crafter adventure.
—Kirkus Reviews

Meet 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.

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On the Blue Comet 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everone should read this unforgetadle book! the picturs flat out stuning.I hope everone gets the chance to read this fadlous book.good for all ages
Evansmom99 More than 1 year ago
I read this in 2 days, I couldn't put it down. Set in the 1920's during the great depression. A story of the love between a boy, his father and their love for the famous Lionel trains. Beautifully written with full page color illustrations. A magical journey you won't forget.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They travl through time so COOL
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey im not reading this book on here but its still a great book! Last year it was a black sosan nomany(maryland book contest by the way)
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Colette Rogers More than 1 year ago
A perfect story for young and old. The color pictures where absolutly amazing. The characters and story couldn't have been better
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ujiiyttffgvfggggygtyytyyuyyhuuhhhhhjuujjuyhnu
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shrigs and goes to res 6 to wait
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*A white and grey tabby shecat walks in.* Hi! I'm Featherdash!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to the next res