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Just Fine the Way They Are: From Dirt Roads to Rail Roads to Interstates Hardcover – March 1, 2011


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Based on the version collected and published by the 17th-century author Charles Perrault, this classic fairy tale is matched with the artwork of Nicoletta Ceccoli. Perrault's Cinderella echoes the elegance and luxury of the French court of King Louis XIV. See more books by Sarah L. Thomson and Nicoletta Ceccoli
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1030L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Calkins Creek (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590787102
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590787106
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 11.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,142,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The story has got real rhythm to it, helped along by the refrain - 'Things were just fine the way they were.'" --Kirkus Reviews


"Great for discussion, this well-conceived picture book illustrates an interesting point about resistance to new ideas." --Booklist


"It can be difficult to locate nonfiction children's materials on the subject; 'Just Fine the Way They Are' helps fill a void." --School Library Journal

About the Author

Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge is the author of four picture books and a biography for young adults. A former teacher and librarian, she has four grown children and lives with her husband in Richmond, Indiana.

Richard Walz graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has illustrated sixty-three books and has contributed to many others. He has often drawn licensed characters. Recently he's contributed several books to Random House's Step Into Reading series. Dick has always had an affection for railroads, so he enjoyed painting several trains for Just Fine the Way They Are.

Customer Reviews

The illustrations are terrific, colorful and accurate.
Sue Morris from Kid Lit Reviews
The young reader is challenged to once again think about our future and where we will go in spite of those who think that "things are just fine the way they are."
D. Fowler
I found it very interesting to read and my children all really enjoyed it.
adayriddle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Carey VINE VOICE on September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Just Fine the Way They Are is a book about embracing change. This non- fiction book is about transportation and it includes many of the actual people and actual events that took place in America's past as we gradually switched from horse- drawn carriages to trains to automobiles.

Just Fine the Way They Are talks about many different transportation eras in U.S. history and the common theme that appears over and over again is that change is inevitable. As the book points out several times, there will always be those who resist any type of change, often for irrational and/or selfish reasons. But in due time, change is bound to occur and within a short time, something even better is bound to come along. The book continues this theme all the way to the end when it talks about vehicles powered with alternative fuels. The message of this book is simple: We should all embrace change because progress will happen regardless and the end results will be even better than what we had before.

Just Fine the Way They Are offers some good history lessons for kids and even adults will find some historical information they likely forgot or, possibly, never even knew. I like the educational nature of this book, but as many will discover, the book seems to dwell on certain eras more than others. Horse and buggies are talked about at length while the building of the interstate highway system, for example, gets only a brief mention. It would be nice to devote a few more pages to interstates and other aspects of the transportation system, but the book is still good and accurate from an historical perspective.

As for the reading, this children's book contains more words per page than the usual child literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids Book Reviews on January 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is a good for kids to learn about the history of transportation and the worries about change that come with them. The book spans the early 1800's through now and discusses the history of change and how roads, the railroad and such were created and why. The illustrations are great, the history of transportation is fascinating, but the wording was a bit much for kids. There's a lot mentioned on each page that didn't hold my kid's attention long enough for them to want to sit and listen to the whole book. While the book seems like it's geared towards kids K-2nd grade age, the wording is written for kids whom are older. I'd recommend it for kids in 2nd grade & older.
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Format: Hardcover
"Mr. John Slack, the keeper of the tavern beside a rutted dirt road in the early 1800s, thought things were just fine the way they were. So did Lucious Stockyon, who ran the National Road Stage Company in the mid-1800s. So too, the owners of the railroads when the first Model-T appeared in 1908. Yet with each new innovation, Americans were able to move around the country more quickly, efficiently, and comfortably. Connie Wooldridge offers an innovative, yet light-hearted look at how the dirt roads of the early 1800s evolved into the present-day U.S. Highway system. Richard Walz's richly-rendered paintings capture the broad seep and the individual impact of the change and progress."

Just Fine the Way They Are, subtitled From Dirt Roads to Rail Roads to Interstates" will have kids (mostly boys), glued to the pages. It is laid-back enough to keep a young kid's attention while having the information to explain how The United States has developed its transportation system. The theme of travel being "just fine," meaning `no need to change what we are use to for some new fangled thing I won't like,' is wonderful. Even today, that attitude prevails, especially if the change is a big one. Yet, when the "new fangled" thing was built, the country was better able to move around, and at a time when the West was expanding. Today, an interstate or highway connects nearly every city and town in America.

I understand the attitude of "just fine." Today, in a pocket or purse, nearly everyone carries a cell phone- except me. Sure, I own one, only after getting a flat tired late at night. Yet, I do not carry it around, because I am "just fine" with my landline. I do not see the need for twenty-four hour phone access. Yet, look what cell phones now do for people.
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Format: Hardcover
Mr. John Slack, a tavern keeper in 1805, was not happy when two senators from Ohio and Connecticut had decided to tell the U.S. Congress that the United States needed a National Road so the folks who lived in the East could get to the Ohio RIver. Wagon drivers would stay the night at his tavern while their wagons got stuck in the mud going up a nearby hill. It brought him business, a National Road would cost him money. In his mind, things were just fine the way they were.

But Congress went and built a National Road in 1816. Unlike Mr. John Slack, other people wanted the National Road. It was where ideas and people and things could be sold back and forth across the country. But soon the National Road lost it's newness and another idea came along in the 1830's. People began to be in awe of the steam locomotive. Once people began to see what it could do the thirst to be able to move faster to get from place to place took over.

But, of course, you can't please everyone. The people who used the National Road were upset because they felt that it should be better maintained. It now had potholes and weeds in it during the 1850's, and when people began to ride a new invention known as the bicycle, a new wave of complaints came where Congress should build better roads, especially with the invention of Henry Ford's Model T.

Because of the pressure from the nation. Congress agreed in 1912 to spend money for a national highway system that would include the National Road. Things began to evolve quickly combining innovation with the needs of the people. But people didn't expect pollution and other problems. Were things really fine the way they were?

This is a wonderful tool for teachers and parents to use to teach social studies skills.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge's vivid imagination and spirited storytelling are fueled by her love of travel, adventure, and the unconventional way she embraces all life has to offer.

She's lived in seven states, Washington, D.C., Athens, Greece and Seoul, South Korea; was a Latin major, a flight attendant for a major airline, raised four children who are five years apart in age, and worked at a job she'd dreamed of having as a little girl - a librarian in an elementary school.

From the time she learned to read, Connie loved to escape into her favorite stories - mysteries and fantasies. While other girls were devouring Laura Ingalls Wilder's adventures on the American prairie, she lived in the fantasy worlds created by 19th Century Scottish writer George MacDonald or went sleuthing with Nancy Drew.

Her love of travel began early in life, as her father's work moved the family from Black Mountain, North Carolina, where Connie was born, to several homes in Northern Ohio and finally to Sherborn, Massachusetts, where she graduated from high school. Connie attended Mount. Holyoke College, where she majored in Latin and earned a teaching certificate. After a year with American Airlines and two years teaching first grade at an English-speaking school in Korea, she attended the University of Chicago graduate school, where she received a double Masters degree in library science and education in 1977.

During this time she was recommended by Zena Sutherland, children's literature professor and editor of The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books, to serve first on the American Library Association's Newbery-Caldecott Committee, which each year selects the recipients of children's literature's most prestigious awards, and then on the Notable Books Committee, which compiles a list of the best children's books published each year.

Married in 1977, she and her growing family made several moves while her husband was finishing his medical studies. She took her first step toward her dream of writing for children by taking a correspondence course through The Institute of Children's Literature. Her first acceptance, by Highlights for Children, was a Korean folktale adaptation. Soon she was a regular contributor to both Highlights for Children and Cricket Magazine.

Connie is the author of five picture books and a young adult biography...

Just Fine They Way They Are (Calkins Creek, March 1, 2011)
The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton (Clarion Books, 2010)
Thank You Very Much, Captain Ericsson! (Holiday House, 2005)
When Esther Morris Headed West (Holiday House, 2001)
The Legend of Strap Buckner (Holiday House, 2001)
Wicked Jack (Holiday House, 1995)
Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge and her husband, Carl, live in Richmond, Indiana where she serves on the Richmond Symphony Orchestra Board, the Every Child Can Read Board, and volunteers for Communities in Schools. They have four grown children.

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Just Fine the Way They Are: From Dirt Roads to Rail Roads to Interstates
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