K-Gr 2 Beppy and Babs are excited about traveling by themselves from Boston to Baltimore, a nine-hour journey by train, to spend the summer with their great-aunt Lulu. Before the two sisters board the train, a Travelers' Aid representative informs their parents about safety precautions for unaccompanied minors. There's very little story here; it's simply Beppy's account of the excitement, boredom, and apprehension of the trip. Even though this story takes place in the late 1930s, its themes of self-reliance and readiness are timeless. The beautiful wet watercolor paintings do not date the story. Casilla deftly captures the warmth existing in this extended black family and also the appealing aspects of railroad travel. A supplementary note about the types of locomotives used between Boston and Baltimore is included. In this day of wide-bodied jets and the virtual decline of railroad travel, the description of Beppy and Bab's trip allows a glimpse of an era when the train was the main artery connecting families together. Jeanette Lambert, Albuquerque Public Library, N.M.
Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard's grandfather was Cornelius "C.C." Fitzgerald. His brother Will told stories about their childhood to his daughter Jessie, who passed them along to the author. Inspired by these stories, Elizabeth visited Jonesborough, Tennessee, a town seven miles from where her grandfather grew up. There she learned about a school started by Quakers called the Warner Institute and wrote this story.