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Casey Jones Hardcover – March 23, 2001

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1 edition (March 23, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374311757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374311759
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 11 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,544,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Heroic train engineer Casey Jones gets star treatment in this spirited picture book. "Listen!/ DWant to hear the story of Casey Jones?" begins Drummond (who adapted Melville's Moby Dick into a picture book). Related by two of Jones's African-American co-workers, engine wiper Wallace Saunders and fireman Sim Webb, the verses whisk readers back in time to when the railroad "was the mightiest thing,/ and the loco engineer/ was the Iron Horse King." They set the stage for the fateful night when Casey couldn't avert a train wreck but stayed faithfully at his post and gave his own life to save his passengers. "He slammed on the air brakes,/ and pulled reverse gear,/ then he hung on to the whistle pull/ till all you could hear.../ ...was the screaming of the hooter.../ the wail of the brakes.../ and a terrible explosion/ that made everything shake." Drummond's vigorous quatrains start slowly, then pick up steam as they chug steadily forward, fueling a first-rate read-aloud. His pen-and-ink images washed with invigorating swathes of color echo the rhythms of the narrative: spot art fills in details not covered by the text (e.g., Wallace and Sim's roles; historical developments brought on by rail travel) while full-bleed spreads portray everything from sprightly vistas to the dark, dramatic chaos of the wreck itself. Hop aboard for an encomium to the railroad and one of its greatest heroes. Ages 5-up. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 2-This story of Casey Jones and his heroic action in giving his own life to prevent a larger tragedy is told from the perspective of his coworkers, engine-wiper Wallace Saunders and fireman Sim Webb. The text reads like a ballad and the men are pictured near the end of the tale with musical instruments in their hands. Additionally, the narrative and art touch on the importance of railroads in the history of the United States. The illustrations, done in pen and ink with watercolor washes, provide details not given in the text and keep the story flowing. Interspersed throughout is the sound of the train whistle-"Wooo-oooh!" This is a terrific read-aloud, and children will enjoy chiming in on the familiar refrain. An author's note relates factual information about Casey Jones.-Sheilah Kosco, Rapides Parish Library, Alexandria, LA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By ChristineMM TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I am ashamed to say I didn't know the story of Casey Jones before I read this book, but had heard the name connected with trains. I also did not read this book before reading it aloud to my son. I was kind of shocked at the content but my just turned 4-year-old was just fine with it all and he loves the book. You decide if your child is ready for this story.
This is a true story that took place in the year 1900 in America. To make a long story short, Casey Jones (a Caucasian) was an engineer of a steam locomotive who was never late with his passengers. One night there was a broken down freight train stuck on the track and they were headed right for it, going to collide. Casey realized that he would be killed so he told his fireman (an African American) to jump to save his life. The fireman jumped and lived to tell the tale. Casey pulled the break and the locomotive was smashed to smithereens and he was killed. All the passengers lived and escaped serious harm. Casey is called an American hero because he saved the lives of the passengers and gave his own life to save them.
So my son is fine with this. We had discussed death in the past and he understands the concept of death and that people die. He also understands that crashes/accidents sometimes result in injury or death. When I first read this I was surprised at a picture book for young children containing a story about the death of an engineer. But since he was fine with it and it was a heroic death, I am fine with it as well. My devil's advocate says that sometimes we shelter our children from knowing about death, while another part of me questions at what age they should be exposed to discussions about death.
The only other possibly controversial image and text refers to the western settlers and railroads..
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Everyone needs a hero, and children will surely find one in this robust true story of John Luther "Casey" Jones, perhaps our country's most famous locomotive engineer who died in 1902 with "one hand on the whistle and the other on the brake."
A native of Cayce, Kentucky, "Casey" rose from freight engineer to locomotive engineer. The tall Irish man became well known among railroad men for his trademark whistle "taking its note from a whisper to a screaming Woo...oooh! And back down to a whisper again as he sped through the countryside."
On the night of the fateful crash, "Casey" told Sim, his fireman, to jump and save himself. Sim did, and lived to tell the story of Casey's bravery. It was Wallace Saunders, an engine wiper, who first wrote and sang about "Casey's" life. Later, another took up the tune and it became the stuff of legend.
English author/illustrator Allan Drummond offers an appealing retelling of Casey's story in bouncing rhyme perfectly suited to young eyes and ears.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on April 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Little train fanatics will love this book, and older children will hear a message of a self-sacrificing American. Great illustrations - some of the pages are divided into quick-moving panels. Don't skip the Author's Note.
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By Cynthia Black on October 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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