Mac and Marie and the Train Toss Surprise

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9780027446401: Mac and Marie and the Train Toss Surprise

After their favorite uncle, Uncle Clem, who has been working on the Seaboard Florida Limited, writes them a letter, Mac and his little sister, Marie, wait by the tracks in order to catch the surprise their uncle has promised to toss from the passing train.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Recalling her father's childhood, the author of Chita's Christmas Tree (1989) describes him waiting, with his little sister, for a train that will pass their home near Baltimore. Mac dreams of becoming a railroad engineer, but tonight the children have a special reason for anticipation: Uncle Clem, who goes to college, has a summer job in the dining car and has promised to toss them a present from the moving train. Most of the quiet text concerns the children's speculation about what this could be, in the course of which Howard adroitly suggests the happy stability of their family; in the end, the package contains a Florida shell, an entrancing symbol, for the children, of the possibilities represented by the train that passes so close and travels so far. Only in a prefatory comment does Howard note that Mac's ambition in turn-of-the-century America was not realistic, since he was African-American. Carter's mixed-media art has a nice feel for the family's attractive country house and the darkening summer evening; her characterizations are a little bland, but have a pleasing warmth. An attractive vignette. (Picture book. 4-8) -- Copyright 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal:

PreSchool-Grade 1-- Mac loves trains. He knows a lot about the ones that rumble past his house just outside of Baltimore and dreams of the day he can become an engineer. One day, a letter arrives from his uncle telling the family about his summer job in the dining car of the Seaboard Florida Limited. When the train passes their yard on Thursday night, Uncle Clem plans to drop a surprise gift for Mac and his younger sister, Marie. Thus, the scene is set for an evening of anticipation that is beautifully captured in this delightful picture book. Howard, who has shared other warm moments of African American family life in Aunt Flossie's Hats (Clarion, 1991), The Train to Lulu's (1988), and Chita's Christmas Tree (1989, both Bradbury), succeeds once again in making a small incident come alive. The watercolor illustrations portray a muted, ever-darkening night scene that is filled with wonder. There is a timelessness to the story that the pictures reinforce. Small details such as Papa's pocket watch and the oil lamp suggest it is set in the past, but it could be taking place today. --Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald
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Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard, Gail Gordon Carter (Illustrator)
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