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Casey Jones's Fireman: The Story of Sim Webb

Farmer, Nancy

18 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0803719299 / ISBN 13: 9780803719293
Published by Phyllis Fogelman Books / Penguin Putnam., New York., 1999
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About this Item

Illustrated Paper over boards, duplicated on jacket. Horizontal format: 10.75x8.5in. Color detailed artwork. Audience: Children/juvenile. Biographical story of the real Illinois Central Railroad employees, engineer Casey Jones and fireman Sim Webb, ending aboard the Cannonball in which Jones died trying to slow the train down to avoid killing others. No others died, and Casey Jones became folkloric for his courage and determination. Webb lived, and some lines herein are from his diary. Webb was African American, and as fireman aboard a steam-powered train, he had learned the important balance of feeding coal and water into the boiler while preventing it from blowing up. He also was concerned about a fabulous whistle Casey had acquired for his train. His story is here told with brilliant illustrations. Fine in very good dust jacket. Slight shelf wear to jacket. Bookseller Inventory # Alibris.80320003913

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Casey Jones's Fireman: The Story of Sim Webb

Publisher: Phyllis Fogelman Books / Penguin Putnam., New York.

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hard cover

Illustrator: Bernardin, James (Pictures by).

Edition: First edition. 1st printing..

About this title


Even though the railroad fireman senses danger ahead, he follows his engineer's command to increase the train's power so that the mysterious whistle blows.

From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 4-Farmer takes the historical facts of Casey Jones's final train ride and gives the story a Faustian twist. Told in the first person by Jones's African-American fireman, Sim Webb, the tale explains why the Cannonball was traveling at such a high rate of speed on the night of the crash. A stranger who looks suspiciously like the Devil offers Jones a whistle made of seven golden pipes, said to be fashioned from Gabriel's trumpet, which is prophesied to blow on Judgment Day. Jones, with his famous weakness for distinctive train whistles, "borrows" it against Webb's advice. Ordering more steam and speed than is wise, just to make the whistle sound, Jones ignores Webb's warning and rushes toward disaster. He stops shoveling coal and exhorts Jones to look out for lights ahead. The engineer commands his fireman to jump while he stays onboard, hand on the brake. The whistle itself survived the crash to be handed down from trainman to trainman until the day that Gabriel reclaims it. This is dramatic stuff and Bernardin's vivid, painterly illustrations do it justice, with larger-than-life heroes, and the mythic Cannonball hurtling through the night landscape. An author's note presents many facts about the men and 19th-century trains in general. Unfortunately, there are no source notes and readers are left to speculate on which parts of the story are original and which are based in traditional lore. Nonetheless, this is a handsome introduction to the age of steam trains and to two legendary trainmen.
Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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