Title: Galloping Gertie
Author: Amanda Abler
Major Themes: Bridges, Washington, Disasters
Synopsis: Dave lived next to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington, and only a few months after he walked across it, he watched it collapse.
Yesterday our family had the interesting experience of attending the opening ceremony of a new bridge nearly within sight of our home, and walking across it after the ribbon was cut. That made it a very appropriate time to read Galloping Gertie, which I came across a few days ago. I read it aloud to my children this evening, and they found it quite an interesting story. A number of years ago, they had watched a video of this bridge falling apart, and one of my sons actually learned about it when he did an engineering course.
Dale lived near the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington when it was first built in 1940. In fact, he could see the bridge from his house. He enjoyed the experience of walking across the bridge soon after it was opened, but wondered why it bounced up and down so much. Many other people wondered, as well.
Only a few months later, just four months after the bridge opened, a strong wind started one night. By morning, the bridge was really whipping around, and the decision was made to close it. What would happen to the four people and a dog stranded in the center section, which was whipping up and down and back and forth, and twisting as well? Dave and his mother went to a neighbor’s house and watched the action from there.
This is the true story of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, as told through the eyes of a young boy who lived nearby. It is illustrated with dramatic paintings that look pretty realistic, from what I’ve seen elsewhere. I really liked the information at the end of the book, which explains what happened to the bridge, and talks about other bridges. Galloping Gertie is a great book to have on hand for curious children to look at. I know my sons would love to have a print copy of this one that they could pick up and browse through.
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12