How Many Miles to Jacksonville?

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9780399226151: How Many Miles to Jacksonville?

For the narrator, his sister, and his best friend, an approaching T&NO train means flattening Indian pennies on the tracks, sitting on the plush seats of emptied-out cars, and checking the aisles for leftover sugar candy, and when the train pulls out of the station they can only wait for the next time.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4-A family reminiscence set in the East Texas boyhood home of Johnston's father. At that time, train travel was the rage and reserved for the wealthy few. The arrival of the T&NO, Texas and New Orleans, consistently drew an adoring crowd of local children and provided a means of livelihood, as its passengers paused to dine at the narrator's family's restaurant. The story line flows easily through the boy's voice as he recounts how humdrum and uneventful lives were brightened, if only for brief snatches of time, by the train's immensity, majesty, and symbolism of a lifestyle just beyond reach. The use of regional dialect adds flavor, and metaphoric allusions build bridges to the natural world. Forbes's watercolors create an accurate depiction of both place and time as well as a skillful representation of the pure joy and simplicity of childhood experience. Jacksonville's love affair with this lumbering hulk of a visitor lives on now, not only in the residents' memories, but in all those who open this book, take a ticket to the '20s, and share in the excitement. A title that will enrich studies focusing on daily life in the first quarter of the 20th century.
Celia A. Huffman, Worthington Public Library, OH
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Ages 4^-8. Time was, in the little East Texas town of Jacksonville, the most exciting thing that happened was the train clacketing in from Louisiana and points east. "The kids started jumping like grasshoppers in a sack" then, and "the grownups did, too." Based on childhood memories of the author's father, this is a nostalgic tribute to some simple pleasures of the past: rolling tumbleweeds, racing lizards, and trying to guess, from the sound of its whistle, how many miles the train had yet to travel to reach Jacksonville. Forbes' watercolors add energy to the quiet story and conjure up the look of the long-ago past it celebrates. This tale is a complete departure in style from Johnston's Magic Maguey, below, Michael Cart

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Tony Johnston
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