On the Blue Comet

On the Blue Comet
What if Cinderella had been a boy? And instead of living with his ugly stepsisters, he had to live with his awful Aunt Carmen and his cousin, Willa Sue? It's 1929 and Wall Street has just crashed due to margins and bad credit decisions and Oscar Ogilvie's father isn't selling any John Deere tractors anymore. That means no more lamb dinners and no more train sets in the basement of their home. Actually it means no home at all because Dad is going to have to move out to California to find work and Oscar is stuck with his relatives who make him stay home while they go out to the well-to-do families to teach etiquette and declamation. Oscar waits for the letter to come from his father that will spring this trap but instead finds himself memorizing Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" and reciting it in a wealthy living room with the fate of his Aunt's business hanging in the balance. Oscar loses his own balance a few chapters later as he dives into a train set during a bank robbery gone awry and finds himself entering a new dimension in time. Rosemary Wells plays with time masterfully in this story moving the hands on Oscar's clock back a decade and forward a decade. He's six years old at one point and ten years older than his eleven years at another point. History is woven through the plot line and is spiced with occasional glimpses of celebrities, Dutch and Mr. H for two. Whether any child reading today would know who we're talking about probably doesn't matter at all but it adds a layer of fun for those who do know the answers to the riddles. Oscar witnessed a robbery and now he's disappeared, kidnapped perhaps. Will he ever see his father again? Will he cross paths with the mysterious Mr. Applegate? Will he ever see the lovely Claire in his real dimension? This is a believable trip beyond the physics we know and understand with a character we are rooting for and possibilities we love to glimpse. 329 pages

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