Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Railroad John and the Red Rock Run

Railroad John and the Red Rock Run

Tony Crunk
Illustrator:  Michael Austin 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Peachtree Publishers, 2006   ISBN: 978-1561453634

Lonesome Bob and Wild Cat Annie are planning to get “hitched” today and Lonesome and Granny Apple Fritter are going to ride the Sagebrush Flyer to Red Rock where the wedding is going to take place at two o’clock. Railroad John is perfectly confident that he will be able to get them to their destination on time for he and his train have “never been late once yet.” Poor Railroad John doesn’t know that this time his run to Red Rock is going to be dogged by troubles.

First of all the Flyer is stopped by Bad Bill, an outlaw. Bad Bill’s horse needs some food and Bad Bill takes coal from the Flyer to feed his smoke puffing steed. Now Railroad John does not have enough coal. Thankfully Granny comes to the rescue with her chili pepper corn muffins. These soon have the Flyer roaring up the track.

A terrible thunderstorm, a washed away bridge, wild winds, and flying livestock threaten to make the Flyer very late indeed but in the end everything works out and Lonesome gets to marry his banjo picking lady love.

This rollicking tall tale will have readers smiling in no time at all. Amusing names and an outlandish story make it a perfect read for anyone who loves a little adventure and who has a fondness for trains. Wonderful illustrations rendered in old photograph style sepia coloring are deliciously funny and will have readers wishing that they too could have a taste of Granny’s fiery muffins. Thankfully the author has included the recipe at the back of the book for those who have a fondness for peppery foods.