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Ghost train [Hardcover]

Paul Yee , Harvey Chan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 18.95
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Book Description

June 1 1996

Winner of the Governor General's Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award and the Ruth Schwartz Award

This powerful, unforgettable and multi-award-winning tale is based on the lives of the Chinese who settled on the west coast of North America in the early 1900s.

Left behind in China by her father, who has gone to North America to find work, Choon-yi has made her living by selling her paintings in the market. When her father writes one day and asks her to join him, she joyously sets off, only to discover that he has been killed. Choon-yi sees the railway and the giant train engines that her father died for, and she is filled with an urge to paint them.

But her work disappoints her until a ghostly presence beckons her to board the train where she meets the ghosts of the men who died building the railway. She is able to give them peace by returning their bones to China where they were born.


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From Amazon

Paul Yee adopts the Chinese ghost story tradition to recount hard historical fact in Ghost Train, while Harvey Chan's brooding illustrations perfectly complement Yee's multi-layered text. It's a winning combination that earned both the 1996 Governor General's Award for children's literature and the 1997 Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award.

Choon-yi's father loves her dearly, even though she is born with only one arm, and with that arm she is capable of creating images so real they seem to be alive. Extreme poverty forces the father to leave his family behind in South China to take a dangerous railroad construction job in Canada. After two years of sending his pay home, Ba asks that Choon-yi join him, but when she arrives in Vancouver she learns that her father has died in a landslide. Her plans to return to China come to an end, however, when her father appears in a dream, imploring her to paint the fire car that runs on the railway he has helped to build.

Choon-yi does as her father asks, and the picture comes to life, pulling a magical train filled with muddy and bloody men. "'Many men died building this railway,' Ba said. 'All along the route, bodies have been swept away by the river or buried under a landslide. Their bones will never be recovered. But the time has come to transport their souls home.'" A former city archivist in Vancouver, Yee draws on his extensive historical knowledge to create compelling and educational children's books. His Roses Sing on New Snow--also with Chan--won the 1992 Ruth Schwartz Award, and his other children's titles include Tales from Gold Mountain and The Jade Necklace. (Ages 6 to 12) --Deirdre Hanna

From Booklist

Gr. 3^-5. Dark, glowing oil paintings illustrate a moving fantasy about the Chinese workmen who died far from home building the railroad through the mountains of North America. The story, first published in Canada, is told through the eyes of a young girl, Choon-yi, born to poor peasants in southern China. She has only one arm, and her mother rejects her, but her father loves her dearly and encourages her artistic gift. When she is 12, he leaves for America to work on the railway being built through the mountains. After two years he sends her money to join him, but when she gets there, she learns of his death. He appears to her in a dream and asks her to paint him on the train he built. The full-page paintings show her traveling on the hurtling engines; we see the power of the railroad and the sorrow of the men who died building it, their clothing stained with mud and blood. This is a book to use with Rhoda Blumberg's Full Steam Ahead: The Race to Build the Transcontinental Railroad. Hazel Rochman

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5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful, touching tale Dec 30 2002
Format:Hardcover
Could things get any worse for Choon-yi, born with only one arm in a poor peasant family in China? She makes the best of the situation by creating and selling paintings. She is rightfully concerned when her beloved father accepts a perilous job building railroads in America. When she travels to see him, she endures heartbreak before discovering that her magical talent can help her father and many others.
The beautiful oil paintings have a gloomy dark brown tint that adds to the melancholy mood of the text. This winner of the 1997 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Medal effectively uses the subdued pictures to compliment the text. I found this to be a powerful book, even though it is written and illustrated with a gentle touch.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful, touching tale Dec 30 2002
By Lynda Preston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Could things get any worse for Choon-yi, born with only one arm in a poor peasant family in China? She makes the best of the situation by creating and selling paintings. She is rightfully concerned when her beloved father accepts a perilous job building railroads in America. When she travels to see him, she endures heartbreak before discovering that her magical talent can help her father and many others.
The beautiful oil paintings have a gloomy dark brown tint that adds to the melancholy mood of the text. This winner of the 1997 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Medal effectively uses the subdued pictures to compliment the text. I found this to be a powerful book, even though it is written and illustrated with a gentle touch.
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