By Julia Sarcone-Roach
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780375858598, 40pp.)
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
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Never was there a subway car who loved her job more than Jessie. From morning to night she carried all sorts of people all sorts of places—to work and school and World's Fairs, over bridges and through tunnels—sometimes she even took a pigeon along for the ride! But as time passed, sleek new silver cars began to take over the tracks, banishing Jessie to an abandoned lot. What will she do with no passengers to carry? And where will she go now that she's no longer welcome on the tracks?
Based on the true story of 1960's-era subway cars that are now being used to create artificial reefs in the Atlantic, this stunningly illustrated second book from Julia Sarcone-Roach is sure to delight scuba diving historians and kids alike.
After attending the Rhode Island School of Design, JULIA SARCONE-ROACH made her Knopf picture book debut with The Secret Plan. She is also the creator of animated videos, including Call of the Wild, which was featured in indie film festivals and won several prizes. Like Jessie, Julia is an avid traveler and has many adventures in mind for future picture books.
Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, November/December 2011:
Sarcone-Roach displays a discipline not always seen in books about the environment; she allows her theme of reuse and recycling to emerge naturally from a fine story and lets readers draw their own conclusions without adding a heavy-handed one of her own. Here youngsters meet Jessie, a subway car that begins service during the 1964 New York World’s Fair and contentedly operates for approximately fifty years before she is dismantled. Jessie and other cars like her are hauled out to sea and, in a small scary moment (which is quickly resolved), dumped into the ocean. There she happily resides as an artificial reef that’s home to myriad sea animals. Illustrations, unexpectedly cozy-looking, emphasize the story’s tone. Structurally and artistically, the book recalls Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House (rev. 11/42) (“Over the years, Jessie saw the city change, and she had some changes of her own”): Jessie’s half-century of traveling the city is depicted through a series of curved routes much like the streets and roads that close in on the Little House with the passage of time. Front end pages trace Jessie’s original underground route; final ones show a peaceful, blue ocean where she now rests. An author’s note describing the science behind similar projects and a bibliography conclude the book. betty carter