Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine
All Aboard! Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine is an intriguing and readable introduction to Elijah McCoy that whets the appetite for more, but it also touches on other thought-provoking themes such as slavery, the Underground Railroad, racial discrimination, railroad history, everyday inventions and belief in one's own ideals.
From the beginning, the account engages the reader. The attractive format and direct readable prose propel the reader along to a satisfying conclusion. The story is prefaced with an emotional poem about the Underground Railroad that sets the stage for the connecting messages throughout. The author ends the book by explaining the derivation of the term 'the real McCoy.' Although Elijah is just one possible inspiration for this expression, its inclusion creates a convincing dimension to the story.
The wonderful effervescent illustrations of Bill Slavin bring the story to life, capturing the atmosphere of the age with authenticity. Pen and ink drawings with watercolor used across double page spreads convey a sense of action and vitality. They also provide whimsical details and subtle pathos that fascinate.
Bill Slavin is the illustrator of over seventy books and has at least the same number of nominations and awards to his credit. These include the prestigious Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, the Blue Spruce Award and the Zena Sutherland Award for Children's Literature.
Monica Kulling is a poet with a B.A. in creative writing. She has written many titles for children, including nature books and beginner biographies of such greats as Houdini, Eleanor Roosevelt, George Eastman and Amelia Earhart. This, her second book in the "Great Idea" series, is a delightful addition to any library or personal bookshelf.
-- CM Magazine, University of Manitoba
Aileen Wortley is a retired librarian from Toronto, ON.
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