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Subway Story Hardcover – October 11, 2011

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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

About 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.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 860L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375858598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375858598
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Catherine W. Hughes on November 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Bringing the New York subway system to life, this picture book follows a Redbird subway car's work on the rails in the big apple. After traveling the city and carrying passengers for years and years, Jessie, the subway train, is dropped into the ocean to become an artificial reef in the Atlantic Ocean. From new subway car to artificial reef, Jessie served her city and its people well. Children ages 4-7 will want to read and find out more about this subway car and her experience riding the rails in New York.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Debnance at Readerbuzz on December 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Jessie is a subway car placed into service for the New York World's Fair in the sixties. She loved her work carrying people back and forth across the city. She worked for many years, but, eventually, her lack of air conditioning and her worn seats resulted in her being decommissioned. Finally, Jessie was put to a new use, serving as the basis for rebuilding the reef in the ocean.

A gentle story of repurposing, of finding new uses for old things, for young children, told with lovely pictures. Reminiscent of one of my favorite children's picture books, The Little House.

"The cars were loaded onto a barge in the river, and a tugboat pulled the barge out of the city harbor. As the waves got bigger, Jessie felt the breezes whistle through her empty windows. Curious fish peered up at them as the barge moved into the open ocean.

`Will I ever get to see my city again?' Jessie nervously thought."
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Coltrane82 on November 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am horrified to read the negative reviews of this book. Yes the story is more acknowledging of life's journey than much of the sugar-coated tripe that masquerades as children's literature, but it handles the subject with such sensitivity and joy that I consider this one of the best childrens books in our library.

Jesse the subway car is born in St. Louis and soon moves to New York City. She falls in love with her work and the book wonderfully details her importance to the city. As time passes newer subway trains begin to take her place and she is put out to pasture so to speak. But Jesse finds new life on the bottom of the sea. The last line of the book beautifully captures this experience "Jesse used to be an important part of the city where she lived, now a whole city lives inside her"

The book is on par with the depth exhibited in the works of Rosemary Welles, Maurice Sendak and Shel Silverstein.

My 4 year old son loves this book and often pulls it out at bedtime. It has allowed us to begin talking about some of the larger issues of life and aging. So if your emotional and intellectual limits for children's literature stop at "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" by all means steer clear of this book. Otherwise, buy it and support the depth and craft of this author's work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J Forgash on July 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I just signed on to figure out what "genre" this book is. It's based on true information about the NYC subway system, but is written as a storybook. I love it, my son has loved it since he got it when he was 3, and he still loves it a year and a half later. I'm looking for more stories written this way. Not quite non-fiction, but not completely fiction either.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By therosen VINE VOICE on July 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
On the first reading I thought this was a little too dark for my kids, but they enjoyed it despite the tough questions they asked. On the second reading I thought it was a story about recycling. By the third reading I started to catch on about the larger allegory of the circle of life. In a world of superficial children's books, this is one of the deeper and more well written ones. The historical accuracy is an added bonus.

I haven't seen anything new from the author, though I hope she keeps on writing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Tsao on February 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Subway story is one of my 3 year old son's favorite book. It is a really cute story about Jessie, a subway car. The story documents Jessie's journey from St. Louis, where she was "born," to NYC.

The one downside of the story is the end. For anyone who has visited the NYC Transit museum in Brooklyn, you may know that NYC donates its old subway cars to become "reef starters." While this is true, and a great message about the circle of life, it may be difficult for younger kids to understand why Jessie is being dumped into the sea. Even my son, who adores this book, cried the first time we read it because he didn't understand.

I will say that I went to a reading of this book at our preschool book fair (unfortunately the author called in sick so it was read by a volunteer) and in that context, none of the kids got upset.

Overall, a great story for any child who loves subways.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Queensmom on January 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 4 year old girl really fell for this book as soon as we started reading it to her. She does take subways occasionally and sees other transit trains all the time so it was easy for her to relate to story about what happens to subway cars . Illustrations r nice and interesting NYC story. Mom and dad like reading it too.
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