Title: Stop the Train!
Author: Geraldine McCaughrean
What it's about: This here's a piece of historical fiction. It's about the settlers of the town of Florence, Oklahoma during the Oklahoma land rush. When the president of the railroad says that no trains will stop at Florence, the citizens band together to find a way to make the train stop. After all, a train is the lifeblood of a frontier town, and without a station, Florence will become just another ghost town. But what will it take to make the train stop? All the townsfolk, from the the children in Class Three to the proprietor of the general store to a member of a passing theatrical troupe, put forth their ideas as they try to eke out a living in the meantime.
What I thought: The lovely thing about this book, aside from the evocative descriptions and simple, flowing prose, is the way is handles its ensemble cast. Oh, sure, there are some characters who are a bit more prominent than others, like Cissy and Kookie, Hulbert, Everett, and Miss Loucien, but many other characters get their chances in the spotlight, and the narrative smoothly skips around from viewpoint to viewpoint. You'll soon come to care for all the Florentines as they quest to stop the train. The story meanders, showing both the attempts to stop the train and the daily life in Florence. This story is really a great one, something that anyone can enjoy. After all, just because a story is simple doesn't mean it's not interesting.
Overall: This is a charming book that I can't recommend highly enough.