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All Aboard!: Elijah McCoy's Steam…

All Aboard!: Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine (Great Idea Series) (edition 2010)

by Monica Kulling, Bill Slavin (Illustrator)

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3313493,677 (4.12)None
Title:All Aboard!: Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine (Great Idea Series)
Authors:Monica Kulling
Other authors:Bill Slavin (Illustrator)
Info:Tundra Books (2010), Hardcover, 32 pages
Collections:Your library

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All Aboard!: Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine (Great Idea Series) by Monica Kulling



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This is a book about Elijah McCoy and his invention of an oil cup used in locomotives in the late 1800s. One of the things I love most about the book is that the characters in the illustrations are drawn with an expression that allows the reader to know just what each character is most likely thinking or feeling. The book not only focuses on how Elijah accomplish his task but it also shows how he's invention affected other people including the safety of others. One thing the book is missing that I like to see in children's biographies is a timeline. My favorite part of the book is the poem titled "Get on Board!" The poem may be above the level of the intended readers of this book but would make a great poem for older students to analyze. ( )
  KimWalker85 | Jan 30, 2018 |
This story was more anecdotal than a full blown biography. It focused mostly on Elijah McCoy's invention of an oil dispenser for train engines and his first job as an ashcat after returning from schooling in Scotland. There was an afterword in which the author described the other inventions he patented later. Overall, the book was good. The illustrations were probably my favorite part. This would be good for younger elementary audiences. ( )
  matthewbloome | May 19, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This picture book is a well told biography of African American inventor Elijah McCoy. The persistence and eventual success of McCoy is inspiring. The explanation of the phrase "real McCoy" made for an interesting ending. ( )
  Stretchberry | Jun 27, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was an acceptable book. Unfortunately, I don't have it to hand for this review, so it'll be a short one.

All the necessary details of Elijah McCoy's life were covered - unfortunately, the author saw fit to put in that spurious nonsense about "the real McCoy" - a cute story, but the phrase predates the man, and so could not POSSIBLY have come from his inventions.

I did feel it jumped around a bit, especially during his childhood. ( )
  conuly | Oct 28, 2010 |
"Get on Board!

we hear our conductor
singing low
the song she uses
to let us know
now is the time
to get on board...

the midnight train
runs underground
we hide and pray
not to be found
we risk our lives
to stay on board..."

So begins All Aboard! But All Aboard! is not the story of the Underground Railroad, rather it is the culmination of the Underground Railroad's greater purpose - a self-determined, productive life, lived out in freedom. Elijah McCoy was the son of slaves who escaped to Canada on the Underground Railroad. His determined and hardworking parents saved enough money to send Elijah to school overseas, where he studied to become a mechanical engineer.

He returned in 1866 to join his family in Michigan. Though he may have been free, his opportunities were not equal. Despite his education, he was only able to secure work as an "ashcat," feeding coal into the firebox of a steam engine for the Michigan Central Railroad,

"What a letdown! Elijah knew engines inside and out. He knew how to design them. He knew how to build them. He also knew the boss didn't think much of him because he was Black. But Elijah needed work, so he took the job. "

Still, Elijah persevered in his job while his mind, trained in engineering, sought to find a solution to the miserable job of "grease monkey," the boys (including Elijah) who oiled all of a train's gears when they frequently seized up due to friction and lack of lubrication. Trains of the time were typically stopped every half hour or so for greasing. After several years, Elijah invented (and patented) an oil cup, which was used successfully to keep the trains running. Travel by train became faster, safer, and more efficient. He continued to invent throughout his life, eventually filing 57 patents! Others tried to copy Elijah McCoy's oil cup, but none were able to match his success.

"When engineers wanted to make sure they got the best oil cup, they asked for the real McCoy."

All Aboard! Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine is an obscure but inspiring story, made particularly poignant by the juxtaposition of his parents' Underground Railroad experience, and his own experience working for the Michigan Central Railroad. The dialogue is invented and there are no references cited, however, the engaging story is simply told in a manner that makes complex topics like the inventive process and racism accessible to young readers. All Aboard! is short enough that it can easily be read aloud to a classroom or storytime for older children.

The book's pen and watercolor illustrations are colorful, and full of life and expression; the reverse side of the dust jacket doubles as poster. The cover design, however, does not showcase the Slavin’s work in the most favorable manner and gives the book a rather dated appearance. The design was likely chosen to match the series format. Don't judge this book by its cover. All Aboard! Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine is the second book in the Great Idea series.

http://www.shelf-employed.blogspot.com ( )
1 vote shelf-employed | Oct 4, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Monica Kullingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Slavin, BillIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Simple text and illustrations explore the life of African Canadian inventor Elijah Mccoy.

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