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Queen of the Fallsby Chris Van Allsburg
Synopses & Reviews
She had visited the Falls as a child and could remember, clearly, the thundering waters and crowds of people drawn to them. She could remember standing in a park near the Falls, hypnotized by the sight and sound, and holding her fathers hand as they took a walk that would lead them closer. Thats what everyone wonders when they see Niagara…How close will their courage let them get to it? Well, sir, you cant get any closer than I got. At the turn of the nineteenth century, Annie Edson Taylor decided to do something no one in the world had ever done before: she would go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The sixty-two year old woman would perform one of the greatest feats in American history and this is precisely why they called her the Queen of the Falls. Mrs. Taylor, a short, plump, and fussy sixty-two year old widow, finds herself in Bay City, Michigan after her travels around America as a charm schoolteacher, teaching at her very own charm school, right by Niagara Falls. But when her charm school starts to fail, Annie needs a plan to keep from becoming penniless; a way to strike it rich and put her money worries behind her for good. After reading about Niagara Falls in a newspaper, she had an epiphany: shed find fame and fortune in being the first person to ever to go over the thundering waters of Niagara Falls.
"In 1901, 62-year-old widow Annie Edson Taylor needs 'a way to strike it rich' after closing her Michigan charm school. Spying an article about Niagara Falls as a tourist destination, she decides to become a popular attraction, too. She commissions a barrel 'big enough to hold herself and a large number of pillows,' hires a publicist, calls on reporters, and finds a boatman willing to tow her into the river. In his first book since 2006's Probuditi! Van Allsburg chronicles Taylor's determination along with public surprise (and disappointment) at such an unglamorous daredevil. In sepia-tinted portraits, Van Allsburg pictures her in a ruffled blouse, cameo brooch, and billowing skirt, her white hair swept under a dowdy hat. The book is impeccably designed; Van Allsburg's grainy, closely observed colored-pencil scenes mimic documentary photos and are beautifully balanced by blocks of text. There is one full-bleed spread: the falls after the barrel has disappeared. In this unromantic and bittersweet account, Van Allsburg presents the feat as born as much out of need as of courage, with Taylor portrayed as a hardheaded eccentric and an unlikely queen. Ages 6 — 9. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
For his birthday, Calvinand#8217;s mother gives him two tickets to see Lomax the Magnificent (magician and hypnotist extraordinaire!). Even though Mama hints that his little sister, Trudy, would love to go, Calvin doesnand#8217;t hesitate to invite his friend Rodney instead.
The boys return home greatly impressed by the magicianand#8217;s performance. When Calvinand#8217;s mother goes out, she leaves him in charge of Trudy. Itand#8217;s a job Calvin dislikes because his sister does not want to be left out of anything. So Calvin and Rodney include herand#151;by making her the first subject for their own hypnotizing machine.
Much to the boysand#8217; surprise, the machine works. But unfortunately they cannot undo what they have done. Trudy is stuck in her trance, convinced she is a dogand#151;panting, drooling, and barking at squirrels. The only problem is, Calvin canand#8217;t remember Lomaxand#8217;s magic wordand#151;Probuditi!and#151;so Trudy wonand#8217;t snap out of it!
The boys are worried and decide to take Trudy to the one man they know can solve their problemand#151;but will Lomax help them? Mama is on her way home . . . Who will have the last laugh?
Young Walter litters and refuses to sort trash for recycling, until he dreams of an overcrowded and polluted future which terrifies him into taking care of the earth.
Riverbend was a quiet little town, the kind of place where one day was just like all the rest and nothing ever happened. Occasionally the stagecoach rolled through, but it never stopped, because no one ever came to Riverbend and no one ever left. The day the stagecoach stood motionless in the center of town, Sheriff Ned Hardy knew something was terribly wrong. What was the mysterious substance on both coach and horses? It would not come off. Soon it was everywhere in the tidy little village. Something had to be done, and Sheriff Hardy aimed to do it.
The three-time Caldecott medalist tells the tale of two ants who decide to leave the safety of the others to venture into a danger-laden kitchen.
The enigmatic origins of the stranger that Farmer Bailey hits with his truck and brings home to recuperate seem to have a mysterious relation to the weather. Could he be Jack Frost?
A dramatic black- and- white presentation of the alphabet in which the three-time Caldecott medalist depicts a mysterious transformation of each letter.
"These figs are very special," the woman whispered. "They can make your dreams come true." — Thus Monsieur Bibot, the cold-hearted dentist, was given two ordinary-looking figs as payment for extracting a tooth from an old woman's mouth. Monsieur Bibot refused to believe such nonsense and proceeded to eat one of the figs for a bedtime snack. Although it was possibly the finest, sweetest fig he had ever tasted, it wasn't until the next morning that Monsieur Bibot realized it indeed had the power to make his dreams come true. While dragging his poor dog, Marcel, out for his walk, he discovered that his strange dream from the night before was becoming all too real. Determined to make good use of the second fig, Monsieur Bibot learns to control is dreams. But can he control Marcel? Once again Chris Van Allsburg explores the mysterious territory between fantasy and reality in an uncanny tale that will intrigue readers of all ages.
In a story recounted through the daily log of Captain Allan Hope, the sailors aboard the Rita Anne become mesmerized and transformed by a mysterious glowing rock, and only music and books can restore them to normal.
A widow finds herself in possession of an extraordinary broom left by a witch who fell into the widow's garden.
Fourteen black-and-white drawings, each accompanied by a title and a caption, entice readers to make up his or her own story.
Sometimes that very thin line between illusion and reality is not as clearly defined as we would like it to be. It certainly wasn't the day that Alan Mitz stumbled into the garden of Abdul Gasazi. For in this bizarre and eerie place — where strange topiary trees loomed — the evil visage of Gasazi casts its shadow. And even after Alan escaped, the spell of Gasazi still seemed to penetrate into his everyday world. In this extraordinary, unusual, and unique picture book, Chris Van Allsburg explores both the real and surreal worlds with incredible deftness. In doing so, he has created exquisite and beautiful images that will continue to haunt readers long after they have left the enchanted garden of Abdul Gasazi.
On a terrifically rainy day, Ben has a dream in which he and his house float by the monuments of the world, half submerged in flood-water.
At the edge of a cliff lies the wreck of a small sailboat. How did it get there? "Waves carried it up in a storm," says an old sailor. But is it possible that waves could ever get that high? There is another story — the story of a boy and his obsessive desire to be the greatest sailor, the story of a storm that carried the boy and his boat to a place where boats glide like gulls high above the water and not upon it. Chris Van Allsburg tells that story of the boy and his boat, the Zephyr, in words and haunting, full-color pastel paintings. His sailboats sail the night sky with the stars in pictures so vivid that the reader can almost hear the wind in the sails. Here is a work of unusual artistry that will enchant readers of all ages for many years to come.
In 1916 a young woman named Ruth Law attempted to fly from Chicago to New York City in one day--something no one else had ever done. This is the story of that daring attempt. Beautifully detailed watercolors dramatize a dangerous journey made by the pilot President Woodrow Wilson called "great." Full-color illustrations.
Since its publication in 1984, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick has stimulated the minds of readers of all ages and backgrounds. Now the original fourteen drawings are available in a large portfolio edition of loose sheets. In addition, a newly discovered fifteenth drawing, titled The Youngest Magician, has been added, as well as an updated introduction by the author. The puzzles of these mysterious drawings will be even more provocative because of the larger size and the exceptional printing quality. For the first time, the drawings can be shared with groups or displayed singly. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 1984.
About the Author
Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals, for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in childrenand#8217;s literature. In 1982, Jumanji was nominated for a National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg was formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two children.
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