Title: Whistle for the Crossing
Author: Marguerite de Angeli
Major Themes: Pennsylvania, Railroads, Trains, William Penn
Synopsis: Eddie enjoyed exploring the ruins of a mansion in Pennsylvania in 1852, then traveled across the state by train with his father.
When we went to America for a visit recently, I bought a lot of books to bring home with us, including several by Marguerite de Angeli, one of my long-time favorite children’s authors. One of the ones I found was Whistle for the Crossing, which I had never read before. It turned out to be a fun, low-key story, just right for my 5-year-old.
Eddie and his friend Tom have spent their whole lives near Philadelphia. One of their favorite adventures is exploring the ruins of William Penn’s house, which had collapsed some time earlier, searching for treasures. He also loved to learn about locomotives, since his father was an engineer. Then one day, Eddie’s father was given the job of driving a brand-new train to Pittsburgh, and that meant that Eddie and his father would have to move there! Eddie set off in the new train with his father, and had adventures all along the way. He even nearly got left behind once when he wandered off into the woods and found…something!
This is another story about a child’s life, which doesn’t have much of a plot to it but that young children love. Marguerite de Angeli seemed to do a good job with stories like this. My boys became very curious about William Penn and his mansion from reading this book, and they loved the story about trains. There aren’t a lot of pictures in this book, but the ones there are are lovely line drawings.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12