Subway Story

( 1 )


Never was there a subway car who loved her job more than Jessie. From morning to night she carried all sorts of people all sorts of places—to work and school and World's Fairs, over bridges and through tunnels—sometimes she even took a pigeon along for the ride! But as time passed, sleek new silver cars began to take over the tracks, banishing Jessie to an abandoned lot. What will she do with no passengers to carry? And where will she go now that she's no longer welcome on the ...

See more details below
$12.84 price
(Save 24%)$16.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (15) from $3.47   
  • New (11) from $9.49   
  • Used (4) from $3.47   
Subway Story

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99 price
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.


Never was there a subway car who loved her job more than Jessie. From morning to night she carried all sorts of people all sorts of places—to work and school and World's Fairs, over bridges and through tunnels—sometimes she even took a pigeon along for the ride! But as time passed, sleek new silver cars began to take over the tracks, banishing Jessie to an abandoned lot. What will she do with no passengers to carry? And where will she go now that she's no longer welcome on the tracks?

Based on the true story of 1960's-era subway cars that are now being used to create artificial reefs in the Atlantic, this stunningly illustrated second book from Julia Sarcone-Roach is sure to delight scuba diving historians and kids alike.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jessie is a New York City subway car who loves her job: carrying people (and the occasional Christmas tree or wedding cake) all over the city, accompanying subway musicians with clickety-clacks, zooming through subterranean tunnels. But what will become of Jessie when she’s too old to refurbish and repair? The upbeat answer: Jessie becomes part of an artificial reef in the Atlantic Ocean, “And now a whole city lives inside her.” Sarcone-Roach (The Secret Plan) so effectively portrays her heroine as an endearing, can-do machine that some readers may find Jessie’s journey to the ocean floor genuinely alarming. Because Jessie has no idea what’s happening to her, the pages that depict her being stripped of parts, loaded onto a boat full of anxious-looking subway cars, and dumped into the spooky depths of the ocean feel a bit like witnessing a mob hit. What’s more, Jessie’s sweet smile and eager eyes disappear once she becomes a reef; by erasing her personality and focusing on the aquatic life that takes up residence on and in Jessie, Sarcone-Roach ends with an obituary rather than a new beginning. Ages 5–9. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, November/December 2011:
Sarcone-Roach displays a discipline not always seen in books about the environment; she allows her theme of reuse and recycling to emerge naturally from a fine story and lets readers draw their own conclusions without adding a heavy-handed one of her own. Here youngsters meet Jessie, a subway car that begins service during the 1964 New York World’s Fair and contentedly operates for approximately fifty years before she is dismantled. Jessie and other cars like her are hauled out to sea and, in a small scary moment (which is quickly resolved), dumped into the ocean. There she happily resides as an artificial reef that’s home to myriad sea animals. Illustrations, unexpectedly cozy-looking, emphasize the story’s tone. Structurally and artistically, the book recalls Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House (rev. 11/42) (“Over the years, Jessie saw the city change, and she had some changes of her own”): Jessie’s half-century of traveling the city is depicted through a series of curved routes much like the streets and roads that close in on the Little House with the passage of time. Front end pages trace Jessie’s original underground route; final ones show a peaceful, blue ocean where she now rests. An author’s note describing the science behind similar projects and a bibliography conclude the book. betty carter
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
This enormously appealing picture book by the enormously talented Sarcone-Roach stars an anthropomorphized subway car named Jessica, who at her birth in St. Louis, Missouri, "weighed 75,122 pounds and was 51 ? feet long." A "beautiful, shiny new subway car," Jessica works happily all over her new home of New York City, especially honored to be allowed to transport visitors to the fairgrounds of the 1964 World's Fair. She busily carries Christmas trees, wedding cakes, jazz musicians, and even "the occasional pigeon," until inevitable old age leads to her abandonment in a railway yard with other equally forlorn trains. But Sarcone-Roach delivers a surprisingly upbeat ending as Jessica (depicted with wonderfully worried headlight eyes) is sent down to the ocean floor—not to be banished to oblivion, but to provide the scaffolding for a vibrantly alive coral reef: Jessica was "once an important part of the city where she lived. And now a whole city lives inside her." Based on a true story that Sarcone-Roach stumbled upon during a visit to the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn, this is as touching as Hans Christian Andersen's humanized fir trees and steadfast tin soldiers, and a heck of a lot more cheering. It will be wonderful to see what this prodigiously gifted author/artist stumbles upon next. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—This story of "Jessie," a subway car built in the early 1960s, was inspired by the author's trip to the New York Transit Museum and is a lovely tribute to the city and its boroughs. Told in a clever biographical format, the story begins with Jessie's "birth" details: weight, length, etc. The shiny, new car takes her responsibilities seriously as she safely carries children to school, adults to work, and friends and family members to visit one another. As the decades pass, Jessie delivers visitors to the 1964 World's Fair in Queens, is covered in graffiti, then painted red, repaired, and refurbished, including air-conditioning to replace outdated fans. Eventually, she is retired and becomes part of an artificial reef in the Atlantic Ocean, where she assumes her new job. The expressive acrylic illustrations set the tone and give the story depth. The features on the front of the subway car are used to make Jessie's eyes, nose, and mouth. An author's note gives details about the history of subway cars around the world. This title will be appreciated by train buffs and those curious about the history of New York City.—Anne Beier, Clifton Public Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews

Jessie weighs 75,122 pounds and is a beautiful, brand-new subway car.

She was brought to New York in the early 1960s for the World's Fair, and she loves traveling all over the city. She speeds around curves and ducks under rivers. When musicians practice on board, she accompanies them with deep rumbles and toe-tapping clacks. Over the years, there are many changes, but Jessie never forgets her most important job—helping people travel safely. Until one season, sleek, shiny new silver trains start taking over the tracks. A downcast Jessie sits in a dusty yard, poignantly wondering about the people she had carried. "Did they notice she was gone?" Thankfully, her adventure doesn't end there. She is taken to the Atlantic and sunk to become an artificial reef, home to many barnacles, coral and fish. Sarcone-Roach cleverly brings the story full circle: Jessie was once an integral part of a bustling city, and now a whole city lives inside of her. With sprawling landscapes and vast underground tunnels as a backdrop, readers will cheer Jessie's story of revival. The author's acrylics gently anthropomorphize Jessie, giving her headlight-eyes and a winsome smile.

Immensely readable and surprisingly touching, this large heft of metal totes a lot of charm. (author's note, bibliography, further reading) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pete Hamill
Sarcone-Roach guides us to Jessie's final destination with energy, style and charm. Only a subway rider (as the author most definitely is) could have imagined this book, and given us such a sustained sense of wonder.
—The New York Times Book Review
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375858598
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 539,736
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

After attending the Rhode Island School of Design, JULIA SARCONE-ROACH made her Knopf picture book debut with The Secret Plan. She is also the creator of animated videos, including Call of the Wild, which was featured in indie film festivals and won several prizes. Like Jessie, Julia is an avid traveler and has many adventures in mind for future picture books.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011


    Sounds wierd

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)