Queen of the Falls

Van Allsburg, Chris

Book - 2011
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Queen of the Falls
The story of Annie Edson Taylor, who in 1901 decided to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, c2011.
ISBN: 0547315813
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) :,ill. ;,30 cm.


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Jul 21, 2014

Chris Van Allsburg, the Caldecott-winning author and illustrator of The Polar Express and Jumanji, tells the "unromantic and bittersweet" (Publishers Weekly) story of Annie Edson Taylor, the first and only woman ever to go solo over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Facing the prospect of life in the poorhouse, the widow and retired charm-school instructor decided to face the falls instead, hoping that her resulting fame would finance a comfortable retirement. Taylor never made a fortune, but with Van Allsburg's crisply detailed and dramatic illustrations, her tale is sure to make an impression on kids old enough to listen to a lengthy read.

Picture books newsletter July 2014

Nov 19, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I’ve always loved Van Allsburg’s magical realism fantasies, but this new venture into reality itself is so appealing that I can only hope that he continues in this vein for some time. A book that honors its subject and grants her posthumous dignity.

Jan 27, 2012
  • musicv rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I enjoy this book. I remember reading about Mrs. Taylor before. The story and pictures made me think about reading a biography about her.

Dec 17, 2011
  • lms rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

History that can't be repeated - over the Falls in a barrel. On the 2011 Goodreads picture book list

Nov 29, 2011

NYTimes Notable Children's book for 2011

Apr 21, 2011

Classic "Chris Van Allsburg"! A great history lesson


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Nov 19, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 4 and 8


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Nov 19, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The facts about the Niagara Falls are well known. “The water drops from a height that is as tall as a seventeen-story building.” Fact of the matter is, you’d have to be nutty to even consider going over such falls. Yet that was the idea that appealed so much to Ms. Annie Edson Taylor. A former charm school teacher, Annie was sixty-two years old and in real need of money. In a flash it came to her: Go over the edge of Niagara Falls in a barrel and reap the rewards that come. Efficient, Annie commissioned the barrel she would travel in, and found folks willing to help her carry out the plan. When the time came, everything went without a hitch and best of all Annie lived to tell the tale. Unfortunately, fame and fortune were not in the cards. Folks weren’t interested in hearing an old woman talk about her death-defying adventure, and on more than one occasion she found her barrel stolen or folks taking credit for her own deed. Ten years later a reporter found her and asked for her story again. Annie confessed that she didn’t become rich like she wanted to, but as she said, “That’s what everyone wonders when they see Niagara . . . How close will their courage let them get to it? Well, sir, you can’t get any closer than I got.”


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Sep 12, 2012

Sexual Content: n


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Nov 19, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“Fred Truesdale had told her the water at the very edge of the falls would be still for a moment. When she felt that, he warned, she must hold on for dear life and pray. Which was exactly what happened next. For a few seconds –one … two … three – Annie floated slowly and upright. She could hear the falls roaring, even through her thick oak barrel. “Oh Lord,” she whispered, and then she was gone.”

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