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Ghost Train Paperback – February 23, 2010
Gr. 3^-5. Dark, glowing oil paintings illustrate a moving fantasy about the Chinese workmen who died far from home building the railroad through the mountains of North America. The story, first published in Canada, is told through the eyes of a young girl, Choon-yi, born to poor peasants in southern China. She has only one arm, and her mother rejects her, but her father loves her dearly and encourages her artistic gift. When she is 12, he leaves for America to work on the railway being built through the mountains. After two years he sends her money to join him, but when she gets there, she learns of his death. He appears to her in a dream and asks her to paint him on the train he built. The full-page paintings show her traveling on the hurtling engines; we see the power of the railroad and the sorrow of the men who died building it, their clothing stained with mud and blood. This is a book to use with Rhoda Blumberg's Full Steam Ahead: The Race to Build the Transcontinental Railroad. Hazel Rochman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Harvey Chan immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong as a teenager. He has won the Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award three times - with Paul Yee for Roses Sing on New Snow and Ghost Train, and for Music for the Tsar of the Sea by Celia Barker Lottridge. Harvey lives in Toronto, Ontario.
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Top Customer Reviews
The beautiful oil paintings have a gloomy dark brown tint that adds to the melancholy mood of the text. This winner of the 1997 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Medal effectively uses the subdued pictures to compliment the text. I found this to be a powerful book, even though it is written and illustrated with a gentle touch.