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Tween Tuesday: Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens! Join the fun and post your link in the linky below.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Non-Fiction/Biography

Release Date: 4/4/2011

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About the Book: Annie Taylor is finding that no one is attending her charm school classes anymore and she's bored. Convinced that there is fame and fortune waiting for her, this 62-year-old woman decides to have an adventure. She comes up with the idea of floating over Niagara Falls inside of a barrel. The barrel makers think she's crazy at first, but Annie shows them her detailed plans and believes she's found a way to survive. With a publicist hired, Annie travels to New York and excites the crowd about her upcoming journey. Will she survive the trip over the falls?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: May means school visits to promote the summer reading program at my library. As part of my visits, I take books along to booktalk to the students and I'm always looking for something that's new and will get the tweens and teens excited. When I heard about Queen of the Falls I knew it would be one of those great booktalk books that would get the students talking.

Queen of the Falls is a short non-fiction. The illustrations are great, as can always be expected from Chris Van Allsburg. He brings Annie to life and gives the illustrations so much detail, they're easy to pour over-and great to show off during booktalking! The fact that the story is non-fiction and based on an event that no one has heard much about-if at all-adds to story. The premise sounds like it's a made up, tall tale, but the fact that it's true adds to the allure. I think this is especially true for tweens whose eyes seem to grow wide when I mention it's true!

I wish there had been a bit more to the book and maybe a bit more detail added about
Annie Taylor's life. This might be a case where there just wasn't enough source material to really flesh the story out more and Chris Van Allsburg does a fantastic job with what he does have. The book is entertaining and engaging and a memorable read.

While an easy non-fiction, the story is something that I think will have wide-appeal and I plan on booktalking it all the way up to high schoolers. Each time I talk about the question is always "but does she survive?" and I love when a book really engages the audience like that! Annie Taylor has quite a story and she's an amazingly daring woman and I'm glad her story has been told!

Book Pairings: Pair this one with biographies of other showmen and daredevils like The Great and Only Barnum by Candance Fleming and Escape! The Story of the great Houdini by Sid Fleischman


  1. I have been wanting to pick this one up but I am currently reading for my Maymester Class. Once it is over I should have some more free time for books like this one. Thanks for the review.

  2. I hadn't heard of this one, but I agree about its appeal. Especially now that I see all of our copies are checked out! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for this! My visits start next week... Happy summer reading!


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About Me

Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a Youth Services Manager who works with kids, tweens and teens. I love being asked about great books to read! I started my blog in 2008 as a way to keep track of what I've been reading and to use a reference tool for reader's advisory and it's grown into much more than I could have ever anticipated. In addition to book reviews, I also enjoy posting audiobook reviews, booklists and my adventures in being a librarian. 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker Committees: 2021 Newbery Committee 2018 Odyssey Committee 2016 Caldecott Award 2013 Michael L. Printz Committee- Fabulous Films Committee I have also served on the Cybils, Missouri State Library Association Readers Selection Lists, and as an Audies judge. Presentations :  I have offered various presentations at local, state and national libraries and conferences. Topics have included:  What's New in Children's & Teen Literature Engaging Teens in Reader's Advisory Gee