Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18.99, 42 pages
Niagara Falls is one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring places in America. Tourists from all over the world visit to see the falls. Once there, visitors will inevitably learn about the history of the attempts made to go over the waterfalls in a barrel. In 1901 Annie Edison Taylor was and remains the only woman to have gone over the falls alone. Queen of the Falls, written by Chris Van Allsburg, follows Annie as she decides to make the dangerous and thrilling trip. Readers will learn her motivations and understand how she designed her barrel. Van Allsburg is a two-time winner of the Caldecott. His black and white pencil drawings may seem familiar. Fans of Jumanji and The Polar Express will recognize Van Allsburg’s illustrations right away. Keep an eye out for the dog that makes an appearance in his other work. This book will offer 3rd-5th graders a challenging read. Young children will enjoy listening to the story read aloud. Parents can use this book to introduce the idea of setting a goal and following through. You might even find yourself planning a trip to see Niagara Falls up close. Hopefully it won’t be in a barrel.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin