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Pivotal Kids Book

 

 

 

Queen of the Falls 

 

By Chris Van Allsburg

 

Any kid who has beheld Niagara Falls—or even taken a good look at pictures of it—will be suitably gobsmacked by the true story of charm-school teacher Annie Edson Taylor, who, at age 62, decided on a whim to fund her golden years by being the first person over the falls. At first, local barrel makers turned her away in horror, but her determination was convincing, and on October 24, 1901, the reinforced and padded 160-pound vessel was dropped into the water in front of thousands of nervous spectators. Van Allsburg’s trademark framed illustrations have the unnerving stillness of old-timey photos, though they struggle for a while with settings unconducive to excitement. Once Taylor hits the water, though, Van Allsburg’s restraint becomes a master class in tension, keeping his drawings of the barrel’s interior small enough to communicate claustrophobia. Van Allsburg’s telling of the rest of the tale—Taylor’s failure to parlay her adventure into cash—is especially affecting, and readers will embrace her resolve. Grades 3-5.

 

 

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Queen of the Falls

by Chris Van Allsburg


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