On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells.
Candlewick Press: Somerville, MA, 2010.

The bank takes Oscar and his father's home, including their wondrous train set-up, when the stock market crashes. His father travels to California in search of work, and he is left with his austere aunt. During his few private moments home alone, Oscar befriends a homeless man left jobless by the Depression, who in turn tutors him (especially in Mathematics). The ex-teacher gets a job at the bank which has his train set displayed for Christmas. An attempted bank robbery propels Oscar into the future via the train where he meets a soon-to-be Hollywood star and young runaway girl from New York City.

I enjoyed the boy and teacher relationship, since he needed his father so badly, and Oscar gave Mr. Applegate help in the same way that his father needed help from those in California. He teaches Oscar how to memorize speeches and poetry (a quality his aunt values) and discusses with him principles of time travel. Of course, all of this takes place while his aunt is working away from the house, as she would never have approved befriending a stranger.

Oscar's wormhole train ride surprised me. Here I was enjoying the Depression setting, when BAM! he's on a train bound for California where he arrives as a teenager. He does get to see his dad, but he must go back to set their lives straight, though that chain of events is strange as well. Besides Mr. Applegate, the star helps Oscar along the way, as does the runaway girl whose father has important friends.

Rosemary Wells tells a good tale. Odd, but creative and poignant.

related-space and time, railroad trains, single parent families, Depression, 20th century, adventure, California, Illinois, boys

RSS Add to Del.icio.us Stumble It! Add to Technorati Favorites
Email Updates
Kickstart Reading/50+ Transitional Books
Horizons Transitional Books
Horizons Transitional Books
BookAdvice Crosswords
Follow minerva66 at Twitter
Knock Your Socks Off Challenge

Recent NTugo Network Posts

    ©2006-2016 BookAdvice.net. Advice, banner, and coding help given by Redwall_hp. Established May 2006.