________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 11 . . . . January 23, 2009

cover All Aboard! (Canadian Flyer Adventures; 9).

Frieda Wishinsky. Illustrated by Leanne Franson.
Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press, 2008.
75 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $17.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-897349-39-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-897349-38-0 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Canadian Pacific Railway Company-History-Juvenile fiction.
Railroads-Canada-History-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

***½ /4

excerpt:

Matt and Emily looked down at their pants. Their pants and shoes were wet and caked with mud, too.

"This is one drippy adventure," Emily whispered to Matt as they hurried toward the voices.

"I know, and we haven't even had a ride on a real train yet."

"But there goes that banging again," said Emily. "I think we're close to people."

The children ran on. The banging grew louder and louder.

"There's the engine that pulled us!" cried Matt. "It looks as big and black as I imagined."

"Over there!" shouted Emily. They crossed in front of the engine to the main tracks, where a group of railroad workers were bent over, hammering down rails.

The children raced toward them.

Emily Bing and her friend, Matt Martinez, had visions of traveling in a train, not on top of one! They would have liked to have eaten tasty food, not rock hard bread! But when you're a Canadian time traveler, you take your risks. Over the years, Emily and Matt have met pirates in the Far North and traveled with the Vikings to Vinland. They've seen the dinosaurs in Alberta's Badlands, and they have dug for gold in the Yukon. Now they are set to travel to British Columbia to witness the Last Spike ceremony and meet some of the railroad officials and workers responsible for linking Canada by rail.

internal art

     Whenever they travel back in time, Emily and Matt like to capture some of the history they see while they are there. In this book, Emily draws a picture of the train carrying some of the Canadian Pacific Railroad builders while Matt records the train's sounds. Although they never stay longer than a few days, their time in the past is always filled with adventure and activities. Most involve learning about the past from their new friends or witnessing historic events, but there are times when quick thinking and teamwork are needed to escape dangerous situations. On this trip, those situations include a bear chase and a rock slide!

     Frieda Wishinsky and Leanne Franson do a fantastic job recreating the sights, sounds and smells from this period of time and particular location. Emily and Matt are dressed in blue overalls and brown jackets like the others around them. They are so cold that Emily feels like she has snowballs for toes, yet they would rather sleep outside in the snow than in a boxcar (possibly inhabited by rats) or in the rundown tents and shacks at the railroad camp. While in 1885 Craigellachie, BC, Matt and Emily learn about the dangers of working in the mountains on the railroad, and they learn how Sanford Fleming, Donald Smith, and William Van Horne helped create the Canadian Pacific Railroad. They even get to see what happened when the last spike was hit. Luckily for Donald Smith, there was a spare!

     Although Emily and Matt's train adventure comes to an end when they are flown back home to Glenwood on their magic Canadian Flyer sled, readers can continue to learn about the railroad through the information contained on the last eight pages of this book. Matt and Emily each list their top 10 facts about the railroad and the dangerous work it involved. The author then writes a question and answer section containing information about the Chinese workers who helped build the railroad.

     In All Aboard, Leanne Franson's black and white illustrations show the excitement, the drama, and the goodbyes Matt and Emily experience on their trip. Full-page illustrations include Matt and Emily's first view of a train engine and their narrow escape from a rock slide. Smaller illustrations include Emily's sketchbook drawing of a train engine and an illustration of Sanford Fleming shaking hands with Edward.

     Thanks to the "Canadian Flyer Adventures" series, all young readers can be eyewitnesses to the highlights from Canada's past. These books remind readers of Canada's growth and accomplishments and, in turn, our Canadian heritage.

     Before writing picture books and chapter books, Frieda Wishinsky worked as a teacher. In 1999, her book, Each One Special, was nominated for a Governor General's Award for text. She lives in Toronto, ON.

     Leanne Franson, who has drawn ever since she was a child, has illustrated over 80 books. She lives with her family in Montreal, PQ.

Highly Recommended.

Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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