Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When the Whistle Blows by Fran Slayton

Product Details
Pub. Date: June 2009
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Hardcover, 160pp
Age Range: 12 and up
ISBN-13: 9780399251894
ISBN: 0399251898

Meet a town and a train and a time and a boy – Jimmy Cannon. And meet his father – as strong as a Mallet locomotive – whom Jimmy simply cannot figure out! But who, in a dramatic and unexpected twist, turns out to be so much more than Jimmy ever knew.
In a book that goes to the core of boyhood – its Halloween mischief, its hunting day mystery, its championship football game surprise, and its nighttime adventures – Fran Cannon Slayton brings her listeners to the breathtaking crossroads of an unforgettable West Virginia railroad town, a family that matters, and adulthood itself.

My thoughts
I signed up to review this book as part of 1 ARC Book Tours. Each reader gets a week to read the book and then mails it to the next reader so that reviewers have a chance to read new books sometimes even before they have come out in stores. It is a really neat idea, if you are interested in trying it out here is the link:

I signed up for this tour in October and it was a small tour, only 5 or 6of us so I thought I would receive it rather quickly. In looking at the log it looks like the first reader kept the book for 4 months, my guess is it was misplaced and she forgot about it but I was surprised by the gap of time. Since then more policies have been put in place to help the books circulate a bit faster so hopefully the kinks are being worked out of the system!

This was a very enjoyable book about small town life in a the late 1930 through the 1940's. The story was told in Jimmy's voice and it was very easy to read and get into. Each year you get a snapshot of one day, All Hallows Eve, which also happens to be his father's birthday. Seeing Jimmy grow and change and watching the changes made to the town when the switch is made from steam engines to diesels shows a lot about the past and what happens to a town and to a community when their source for jobs and incomes changes. Jimmy felt real and authentic. I enjoyed watching him try to catch up to his two older brothers, dreaming about becoming a steam mechanic, and playing in a championship football season. The interconnectedness of the past and the future was very clear and was a great message. I think readers young and old will enjoy this book!

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