Queen of the Falls
By Chris Van Allsburg
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Hardcover, 9780547315812, 40pp.)
Publication Date: April 1, 2011
She could remember standing in a park near the falls, hypnotized by the sight and sound, and holding her father’s hand as they took a walk that would lead them closer.That’s what everyone wonders when they see Niagara . . . How close will their courage let them get to it? At the turn of the nineteenth century, a retired sixty-two-year-old charm school instructor named Annie Edson Taylor, seeking fame and fortune, decided to do something that no one in the world had ever done before—she would go over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel. Come meet the Queen of the Falls and witness with your own eyes her daring ride!
Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals, for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children’s literature. In 1982, Jumanji won the National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg was formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two children.
"Van Allsburg’s foray into nonfiction is filled with the same suspense, surrealism, and menace that have thrilled readers of his fiction."—School Library Journal, starred review
"In this unromantic and bittersweet account, Van Allsburg presents the feat as born as much out of need as of courage, with Taylor portrayed as a hardheaded eccentric and an unlikely queen."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"This illustrated biography climaxes beautifully with a double-page spread of the great falls, a tiny barrel bobbing in the current, and a powerful one-line text: '"Oh, Lord," she whispered, and then she was gone.'"—The Horn Book