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Death of the Iron Horse Paperback – March 31, 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
In PW 's words, "Goble's incomparable paintings, full of vitality and color, illustrate a true story, the Cheyennes' sole victory over encroaching whites whose railroads 'tear open our Mother, the earth.' His final picture mutely and eloquently records the difference between attitudes of the conquerors and the Native Americans who respected the land." Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3 Goble has taken several accounts of the 1867 Cheyenne attack of a Union Pacific freight train (listed on the verso of the title page) and combined them into a story from the Indians' viewpoint. As the Cheyenne Prophet Sweet Medicine had foretold, strange hairy people were invading the land, killing women and children and driving off the horses. Descriptions of the iron horse inspired curiosity and fear in the young braves who decided to go out and protect their village from this new menace. Keeping fairly close to actual Indian accounts, Goble presents the braves' bold attack on the train, glossing over the deaths of the train crew. The highlight of the book is the portrayal of the young braves as they explore the contents of the train. They toss meaningless rectangles of green paper into the air and spread bolts of colorful cloth across the prairie. Deciding they had nothing more to fear, the braves return home, little realizing what the future holds. The art, done in India ink and watercolors, is delicately colored with lots of open white space. A beautifully illustrated story. Karen Zimmerman, I.D. Weeks Library, University of South Dakota, Vermillion
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Beyond the concerns with content in a children's book, you should also be aware that the author presents one very particular take on historical events. Which is certainly his right. He rightfully laments the treatment of native Americans, yet seems to celebrate the violence they committed (how this is not both racist and vengeful is unclear to me). In other words, before allowing your child to read this book, prepare to discuss this conflict with your children. If you don't believe your child is prepared to understand these issues, don't give them the book!
The backgrounds show the Nebraska prairie and Chimney Rock.
This book is an important one for understanding (a tiny bit of) the resistance to America's westward expansion.