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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Tale that will make a Great Film!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Stop the Train (Hardcover)This is the sort of book that is so good you want to read it in one sitting and yet somehow are loathe for it to end. Yes that good!
Set in 19th century wilderness Oklahoma, it is the story of stout hearted Cissy and her settler family and neighbours. Their lives are a daily struggle to make the rectangles of bare earth and scrub, where they have staked their claims pay their way, and blossom into the prosperous town of Florence.
Their fortunes take a downturn when they evoke the wrath of the powerful railroad baron Clifford T Rimm (now there's a name and a half!), by refusing to sell up to him. In spite at being thwarted, he then refuses to allow his trains to stop at Florence station and so severs the vital commerce connection with the town.
So even before it has begun, Florence begins to fade away. But the brave and resourceful Florentines do not intend to give up without a fight, and the battle begins to stop the train......
I won't spoil the reader's fun by giving too much of the twists and turns of the plot away but its exiting stuff at times and you really begin to care what happens to the characters. Deservedly Runner Up for this year's major UK Children's Book Award the Carnegie Medal, Stop the Train is a classic in the making. The screenplay has already been written by the author, so let's hope it does get the chance to be a great film as well as a great book!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop That Train!,
This review is from: Stop the Train (Paperback)Cissy and her family have come to set up a grocery store in the brand new town of Florence, Oklahoma, near the railroad. She quickly makes friends with a very chatty, kind boy called Kookie, short for Habbakuk. Other people come to stake their claim on plots of land, and open up businesses. It is all very exciting but the settlers of this new town soon discover they have a serious problem. The railroad company wanted the land the town is being built on, and when everyone turns down the cash they are offered to give up their claims, the railroad boss announces his trains will not stop in Florence. The railroad is the reason for the town's existence, and without it Florence will collapse before it is properly started.
How the townsfolk of Florence get together and stop the train is the story of this delightful historical novel for older children, set in the US in the 1890s. What really made this such an enjoyable read was a vibrant cast of characters. As well as Cissy and Kookie and the other children, there is Herman the Mormon signwriter, who has a moral objection to money and wants to get to Salt Lake City, Utah, where most Mormons live, but has only been able to trade his services for a ticket to Florence.
My favourite adult character, though, is Mrs Loucien Shades, a widow who answered an ad for a wife but when someone else is offered that position, agrees to become the town's schoolteacher. She has no formal teaching qualifications and possibly rather less formal education herself than might be expected, but what she lacks in technical expertise, she makes up for in other ways. She loves the children and they love her, and she has some inspired ideas for keeping the curriculum interesting, for example getting all the adults in town to come in and talk to the children about their work or other subjects they know about.
I love to read historical fiction with very strong but believable female characters. Girls and women in this time and place must have been tough - they would have had to be to survive the trials and tribulations of pioneer life.
I also liked the way in which the novel shows that the people of Florence need each other, the need to get together and plan collective action to achieve their goal. They are full of bright ideas and enthusiasm, though some of their plans don't quite work.
Although written for children, this very funny and touching historical novel is a great read which many adults would enjoy too.
I also enjoyed the sequel, Pull Out All the Stops!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! A spell-binding story of life and determination in pioneering America,
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop the Train,
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing read!,
Humourous, poignant, gripping and beautiful, this is a book that will always stay in your mind.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!,
This review is from: Stop the Train (Paperback)This book is terrific! Great writing style, memorable characters, an engaging plot, humour, pathos. A thoroughly good read. Buy it!
5.0 out of 5 stars BIG KIDS LOVE GOOD BOOKS TOO!,
This review is from: Stop the Train (Paperback)I bought this from a favourable press review and it has lived up to the glowing praise that was heaped upon it.It is never less than interesting throughout,written in a captivating style with characters and scenes that leap into life on the page.I enjoyed every moment of it and the only regret i had at the end was that it wssn't one of a series.A gem!
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Stop the Train by Geraldine McCaughrean (Paperback - 4 Oct 2007)