On the Blue Comet

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If the book's principal value is its written content, however, the "work of art" criterion doesn't really matter, and it can just as well be an eBook. I have low standards for collectibility, too.

Customer Reviews

I'll buy a fifth copy of a mediocre SF novel from the Fifties because I like the cover. I'll never read that copy. I'll just enjoy having its cover art in my hand. The point is, there are books you buy in real book form because you enjoy the product that is the physical book, and that enjoyment goes beyond your appreciation of the words within.

On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells, Bagram Ibatoulline |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

On The Blue Comet is one of those books, a novel intended for older elementary and young adult readers. I've mentioned before that I think children's book publishing is in the midst of a renaissance. Children's books are being released with especially beautiful covers, carefully designed interiors and full-page sometimes two-page , full-color interior illustrations. Just the presentation of On the Blue Comet is worth the price of admittance.

Recently, I've had discussions with fellow authors about what should and should not be illustrated in fiction. A lot of my colleagues are against their characters being shown in illustrations. They feel that showing an artist's interpretation of a character impedes the reader's ability to visualize. I'm not in their camp. I love illustrations. One of the reasons I collect so many books is that, since childhood, I've been able to spend hours contemplating a piece of illustrative art, imagining what motivations lie behind the faces of the characters, and what lies in wait for them beyond the edges of the picture.


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Illustrations, particularly those which show both the characters and their surroundings, have always served me as touchstones for the imagination. I never felt ill-served by seeing the images of the Carter-Burroughs family on the pages of Heinlein's Number of the Beast , brought vividly to life by the pencil of Robert Powers.

What would the literary world of Oz be without the work of John R. In my own immediate literary universe, I felt the amazing Carmen Carnero caught perfectly the mood and look of the title character in my story "Axel's Song. Ibatoulline's work is especially important in identifying some historical figures who appear in the narrative, but are never explicitly named. They wouldn't be, since the young narrator has no reason to know who they are. I love railroad stories. There's a special quality of adventure that a story has when it's set on a train that cannot be equaled by moving it to a ship, a plane or an automobile.

Restoration of The Blue Comet - Excerpt From De Luxe: The Tale of the Blue Comet

You can catch an example of how my fascination for rail adventures plays out in my work dramatized in " Night Train Through Maco Station. But, above and beyond being a railroad story, this is an almost perfect book.

A good children's book delights and entertains an adult reader as well, and this one does. It begins as a fairly straight piece of historical fiction. Oscar Ogilvie and his Dad live in a modest home in the Mid-West. Oscar's mother has recently died in an explosion at a fireworks plant, and the two find solace in each others' company and in building their model railroads in the basement. It's , however, and the stock market crash deals these two bereft people yet another tragic blow: Oscar's Dad loses his job and must sell their house and their beloved model trains, leaving Oscar in the care of a maiden aunt while he goes to California to seek work.

Oscar's transition from ordinary middle-class boy to unwelcome guest in his miserly Aunt's home allows ample opportunity for Wells to paint a picture of the times with words, even as her illustrator renders beautiful paintings to accompany them. That changed three years ago, when a revelation about Oscar came to her in the shower. On the Blue Comet was well worth the wait. She adds, "Although I was born during the war, in , I still had enough contact, as most of us did back then, to know the Depression age, and to connect with the first half of the twentieth century pretty easily.

Wells, whose books include the novels Lincoln and His Boys and Red Moon at Sharpsburg , loves to dig deep into history. I had a lot of fun having an year-old John Kennedy appear. However, when his father loses his job, they are forced to sell their house and beloved trains. Dad heads to California to find work, leaving Oscar in the care of his fussy aunt and prissy cousin. Once launched on his page-turning adventure, Oscar meets many more strangers, including Alfred Hitchcock and a kindhearted young actor nicknamed Dutch. My father was a playwright, and was his co-chairman, and knew him well.

Well draws an intriguing comparison between the stage and screen and the creative process she taps into each day: "A writer has to create is an entirely different world from the reality of their own life, and enter it much as an actor has to. It's like being in a completely different world, one that's made up by yourself, and that could end also in madness.

There are people who do this and.


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  6. Writers really create entire worlds and then walk into them and illuminate them. That's pretty heady stuff coming from a children's author who's beloved for bringing to life such characters as Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora, McDuff and Yoko, as well as entire kindergarten classrooms. What draws all her characters and books together? Emotional content, Wells says.

    On the Blue Comet

    And this is why it works. I have to make sure that the emotional content is valid, and something that is wholesome and worthwhile, even if noncompliant. I have the belief system of a typical person born in As far as kids go, I believe in good citizenship, good behavior, kindness to others, no time spent in front of the television, and all kinds of things like that.

    When creating her cheerful, colorful illustrations, she works with pastels, color pencils, ink, watercolor, gouache—all kinds of different media, she says, except acrylics and oil.